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Chicago joins cities throughout the world in commemorating World AIDS Day. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the 1981 discovery of AIDS.
“World AIDS Day is an opportunity to remind all of us that we need to continue to work together to stop the threat of AIDS,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “To prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and support the rights and opportunities of those living with it, we need city and community organizations that provide education, counseling, testing and treatment 365 days a year.”
HIV prevention is one of twelve priorities outlined in Healthy Chicago, the city’s plan to make Chicago the healthiest city in the nation.
To support that goal, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) launched a citywide condom distribution effort this morning, handing out 20,000 free condoms during the morning commute at five L stops. Dr. Choucair, Commissioner of CDPH, joined his staff in distributing the free condoms at the Howard CTA train station.
“Condoms are key in preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. By taking a simple step and using a condom you can save your life and the lives of others,” said Commissioner Choucair.
World AIDS Day is dedicated to the 25 million people estimated to have died from AIDS, and honors the roughly 33.4 million people worldwide who are living with HIV.
CDPH also announced the Chicago Community Condom Project, one part of CDPH's re-energized HIV prevention strategy. The department will coordinate the distribution of 10 million free condoms in 2012 through city clinics, community based organizations, and other non-traditional venues such as bars, nightclubs, beauty salons and barbershops.
In 2012, the city will launch a public awareness campaign to deliver targeted prevention messages to vulnerable populations via billboards and CTA advertisements.
While the number of HIV cases has declined by 40% since 2000, there are still 20,391 people living with HIV in Chicago.
To find out more information about HIV statistics in Chicago, download the CDPH Fall 2011 STI/HIV surveillance report, released today. http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/city/en/depts/cdph/supp_info/hiv/division_of_sti_hivaidscommunicationpolicyunit.html
To find more information about where to go for testing or treatment or other resources visit the City’s website at www.cityofchicago.org/health or call 311. You can also connect with CDPH at www.facebook.com/ChicagoPublicHealth or on Twitter @ChiPublicHealth.
Other events happening throughout the city on World AIDS Day: