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News: Inside Story

Davon Lawrence, AFC’s new Director of Prevention Capacity Building, brings a passion for service to AFC

October 13, 2021

By Ella Shapiro Davon Lawrence ’s passion for service was inspired by his mother. Raised in New Jersey, Davon grew up watching his mother work for the Salvation Army as an Intake Counselor. He saw the way that his community improved through the work she and her colleagues did by caring for others. From a young age, he...
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Illinois residents share experiences, ideas to improve the state’s Medicaid program

October 12, 2021

By Bailey Williams For more than 50 years,  Illinois Medicaid  has offered millions of  residents access to health insurance for free or reduced rates. Illinois Medicaid is the largest health insurer in the state, providing coverage to about 25 percent of the state’s residents including people living with HIV, working families,...
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Dear God, I'm Here

October 4, 2021

By Timothy S. Jackson October 3 marks 12 years of living with HIV for AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC)'s Director of Government Relations. A Black man. A Black gay man. A Black gay man living with HIV. I am all of those and greater than the sum of the parts. My intersecting identities. The things that make me who I am and who I want to be. The identities...
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Chris chooses to “option up” at AIDS Run & Walk Chicago

September 30, 2021

By Ella Shapiro One day in 2014, Chris Pazdernik  was taking a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) train when they noticed an ad for that year’s AIDS Run & Walk Chicago fundraising event. Five years prior, Chris had tested positive for HIV. At the time, they were left with a lot of insecurities. They didn’t know what kind...
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Ryan White case manager stops opioid overdose minutes after receiving training from AFC

August 1, 2021

By Bailey Williams  For the past three years, Mayra Olivares has helped people living with HIV and AIDS achieve better health outcomes. As a Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program case manager at Erie Family Health Centers, Mayra makes sure her clients receive needed medication, medical appointments and referrals for vital services like housing. Prior to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Mayra...
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Remembering Debra La Joyce Thornton: Longtime housing advocate, woman of faith and mother

July 26, 2021

By Bailey Williams Longtime housing advocate Debra La Joyce Thornton, age 64,  passed away Thursday, July 1. Debra is survived by her mother, four children and three grandchildren she loved dearly.  Described by many as  extremely hardworking and dedicated, Debra spent the last two decades helping hundreds...
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Learning the Art of Living: My Uncle Kevin’s Legacy

July 15, 2021

By Hannah Kopach, AFC  associate board member and co-captain of the associate board’s AIDS Run & Walk Chicago 2021 Team  Ever since I was asked to write a piece for  AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC)’s blog, Inside Story, about my Uncle Kevin, I wasn’t sure where to...
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AFC welcomes four new associate board members

July 14, 2021

AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC)’s  associate board includes young professionals and emerging leaders who are passionate in the fight for HIV/AIDS services and prevention in the Chicagoland area. Members of the associate board act as ambassadors for AFC by taking part in fundraising, community service and advocacy activities that create health equity and justice for...
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“Our legacy is our people”: Celebrating the legacy of the Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus

July 1, 2021

By Bailey Williams I n the summer of 2005, party promoters, bar and bathhouse owners, government representatives, community leaders, health providers and Black gay, bisexual and same gender loving men convened at what was formerly the Ramada Inn on 47th Street and South Lakeshore Drive to...
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Living Our Best Sexual Lives in the After Times

June 24, 2021

By Jim Pickett,  Senior Director Prevention Advocacy and Gay Men’s Health  at  AIDS Foundation Chicago The last time I  wrote  about safer sex and pleasure during COVID-19  – last April (in other words, three lifetimes ago)  –   I focused on lots of tasty treats on the sexual menu .  ...
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