Advocates and lawmakers joined together Tuesday to call for more state investments in Black-led HIV and AIDS service providers that help those in underserved communities. [Health News Illinois]
Officials at the state Capitol in Springfield recognized Feb. 7 as Black HIV/AIDS Advocacy Day. Creola Hampton, founder of the Black leadership Advocacy Coalition for Healthcare Equity, said it was not a day of celebration, but a ”solemn day for the Black community.”
She called on additional funds already provided to the Department of Public Health to go specifically to Black-led organizations that have the cultural competency necessary to impact the rates of HIV and AIDS in their communities.
“We cannot keep having funding going to white-led organizations … (while) Black-led organizations are not being equitably funded,” Hampton said.
In 2017, an estimated 39,842 Illinoisans were living with HIV, according to data provided by Sen. Mike Simmons, D-Chicago. In 2020, Black Illinoisans accounted for 52.1 percent of new HIV diagnoses and 48 percent of existing diagnoses, despite making up just 14.2 percent of the state’s population.
Simmons said they were set to speak later in the day with IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra on the issue and how additional resources can help address disparities.
“For too long, our healthcare systems have failed to support the health needs of the Black community,” Simmons said. “I will continue to fight for legislation that ensures all people have access to equitable, affordable, culturally-competent care.”
Simmons and Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago, said no money in the current budget is specifically directed toward Black-led HIV and AIDS community service providers.