HIV remains a serious infectious disease in the world and here in Illinois. The good news is that there has been a great advance in knowledge and the development of effective tools to prevent infections and to prolong and improve quality of life for persons living with HIV. These next few pages provide information that begins with HIV education, testing, care, and support services and where they can be obtained easily throughout Illinois.
Our IL Integrated HIV Prevention and Care Plan 2017–2021; A Roadmap for Collective Action in Illinois outlines the state's approach to combatting HIV/AIDS.
HIV infection is confirmed by a diagnostic test, either as a simple blood draw or a rapid finger stick procedure. HIV testing is available in many locations throughout Illinois. It is free and includes education and risk reduction counseling, along with condom distribution. Call the HIV/STD Hotline to learn the HIV testing location near you please call 800-243-2437.
If you are a person living with HIV and need medical care and/or supportive services, there are programs available to help meet these needs. HIV Care Connect is the statewide Ryan White care and services program in Illinois. See Resources in the right-hand column for a link to HIV Care Connect. Click on the HIV Care Connect link for the interactive map to find the service location and contact information near you.
If you are a pregnant woman living with HIV, specialized care and support services are available to assure a healthy outcome for you and your infant. The Illinois 24/7 Perinatal HIV Hotline is accessible and confidential. See Resources in the right-hand column for the HIV Pregnancy Hotline website link. For more information please call 800-439-4079.
In addition to abstinence, proper use of condoms and sterile drug use equipment are part of HIV prevention tactics. Also, there are 2 important biomedical intervention programs you should know about that are highly effective in preventing HIV infection.
One program is Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). To learn more, see Resources in the right-hand column and click on the PrEP link. Persons who are not HIV positive, but at high risk of infection through sex or injection drug use can take 1 pill a day that includes 2 medications (tenofovir and emtricitabine, brand name Truvada), which prevents the establishment of permanent HIV infection.
The other program is Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP). To learn more, see Resources in the right-hand column and click on the PEP link. PEP is an effective prevention intervention for persons who have been occupationally (medical personnel or emergency first responders) or non-occupationally exposed to HIV (unprotected sex or sharing drug use equipment with an HIV positive individual). Taking HIV medications within 72 hours of exposure can significantly reduce a person’s chance of becoming HIV positive.
More information can be obtained about PrEP and PEP medications by contacting your medical provider and/or calling the Illinois HIV/STD Hotline at 800-243-2437.
The HIV/AIDS Section is committed to the elimination of stigma and discrimination against persons living with HIV as well as concurring homophobia, transphobia, racism, and gender inequality, all of which fuels the world wide and domestic HIV pandemic. Web pages in this section will provide information on initiatives and actions to address these issues.
Illinois HIV/AIDS epidemiological data; harm reduction and condom campaign information; and community engagement and planning, along with announcements of periodic funding opportunities for HIV programs and more can be found within the HIV/AIDS Section’s web pages. We invite you to review and use all the information shared, and your feedback will be appreciated.
HIV/AIDS is and remains a serious life-threatening disease; however, a united effort between public health and communities can be victorious in significantly reducing new infections and improving the quality and dignity of life for persons living with HIV. We invite you to join us—together we can win.