With more than 18,000 deaths and 35,000 total reported AIDS cases, Illinois ranks sixth among states in the number of AIDS victims. Last year alone, 1,906 HIV cases and 814 AIDS cases were reported in the Midwestern state.
“With so many Illinoisans afflicted with this terrible disease, we must continue to create opportunities that raise awareness and to fund prevention and treatment options,” says Gov. Blagojevich. “Dollars raised from this ticket will provide grants for HIV/AIDS prevention and education in communities across the state, especially in the communities that have been hardest hit.”
Each new ticket will cost $2 and have four top prizes of $20,000. Net revenue from the sale the tickets will be deposited into an interest bearing account in the State Treasury Department.
“Those who play the lottery have the opportunity to play a part in improving the lives of those with HIV/AIDS throughout the state,” says Illinois Lottery Acting Superintendent Jodie Winnett.
The legislature will appropriate the money from the new account directly to the Illinois Department of Public Health, which will award grants to public and private entities in Illinois for funding prevention, education and treatment programs for HIV/AIDS.
“African-American men are seven times, and African-American women are 21 times, more likely to be infected with HIV/AIDS than Caucasian men and women respectively. And the primary mode of infection among all racial/ethnic groups continues to be men having sex with men,” says Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Damon T. Arnold.
Illinois state legislators and HIV/AIDS advocates alike supported legislation to bring this ticket to life. Supporters included advocates from Congressman Danny Davis’s office, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Project VIDA, the Coalition for Justice and Respect, Sankofa, Inc, ROCKS Coordinating Committee, and other nonprofit groups.
“It is crucial that people get tested. Knowing your status and early detection saves lives,” said U.S. Congressman Danny Davis (D-Chicago). "Education remains our best prevention tool to eradicating HIV."
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