The AIDS Foundation of Chicago is in a race — a marathon, not a sprint — to achieve true health equity. Together with our community we’re leading Illinois’ movement to provide the best support for people living with HIV and AIDS and to make sure fewer people are diagnosed with the virus each year. We’re setting the pace toward an astonishing finish line: the day in 2030 when we can officially say we’ve reached zero new HIV transmissions in the state of Illinois. We’re not alone: alongside us in this race are innovative partner organizations, generous donors and foundations, and fierce advocates and event participants. The strides we achieved in 2018 have changed individual lives and transformed systems. We’re so grateful to be working alongside you this year and into the future.
Below, you’ll read about our success in four areas – serving as a knowledge and collaboration center, preventing new cases of HIV, advancing health equity, and being a bold voice for change. These are our four strategic priorities as listed in our 2015-2018 strategic plan, Positive Momentum.
JOHN PELLER, PRESIDENT & CEO AND ANNA LAUBACH, CHAIR, AFC BOARD OF DIRECTORS
In Illinois and other states, people with HIV can be prosecuted for having sex with someone who is HIV-negative without disclosing their HIV status, even if there is no chance of transmission. HIV is the only disease that is criminalized in such a way. For years, conversations around HIV criminalization have been at the forefront in the HIV community. In 2018, 4 AFC advocates and staff traveled to Indianapolis to meet with advocates from across the nation at the third annual HIV is Not a Crime conference. There, they learned and talked about the criminalization of people living with HIV and addressed the challenges the community faces unifying around a strategy to change these harmful laws. 2019 will see continued work around reforming HIV criminalization in Illinois, fueled by conversations like these.
AFC HAS LONG SERVED AS A HUB FOR THE HIV WORKFORCE AND COMMUNITY TO COME TOGETHER, LEARN AND SHARE. IN 2018, THAT WORK CONTINUED THROUGH NUMEROUS COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP PROGRAMS.
AFC hosted four daylong conferences with over
100 COMMUNITY MEMBERS
in attendance at each event. Conference topics included a focus on U=U; HIV in Black communities and the intersections of HIV; Hepatitis C and the opioid epidemic.
Our annual Public Health Boot Camp graduated
13 HIV WORKFORCE PROFESSIONALS
who went through an intensive week-long educational program that fast-tracks participants’ skills around HIV/AIDS and public health, leadership and career development.
49 IN-PERSON TRAININGS
AND OFFERED 11 ONLINE TRAININGS
on our web-based learning management system for case managers to help further develop their skills and continue providing high-quality services
to Ryan White clients.
The Illinois PrEP Working Group, led by AFC, grew in membership in 2018 to
343 DEDICATED MEMBERS
and continued engaging community members through the innovative PrEP4Love campaign.
Getting to Zero Illinois was a major organizational priority in 2018. In collaboration with the Chicago and Illinois Departments of Public Health and 45 other partner organizations, AFC led the brand development, launched a new website and coordinated meetings for this new state-wide initiative. AFC also evaluated feedback from 185 community members from focus groups and input from 265 town hall participants across Illinois. All of this work led to the December launch of the first draft of the Getting to Zero Illinois plan, which will set the pace for efforts leading toward ending new HIV transmissions throughout the state over the next decade.
HIV PREVENTION IS ESSENTIAL TO AFC'S WORK AND IS REFLECTED IN A NUMBER OF WAYS, PARTICULARLY THROUGH A COMMITMENT TO EXPANDING ACCESS AND AWARENESS TO PrEP AND ADVOCATING FOR NEW PREVENTION TECHNOLOGIES.
Project RSP! (Ready, Set PrEP) trained 181 professionals throughout the Midwest to promote awareness of, and access to, PrEP for HIV prevention, particularly among communities
most vulnerable to HIV.
330 PAGES OF COMMENTS
120 UNIQUE SUBMISSIONS
AFC had concerns about the National Institute of Health’s decision to not support research on short-acting microbicides (experimental drugs that would prevent vaginal and/or rectal HIV transmissions). AFC analyzed 330 pages of comments from 120 unique submissions from advocates, researchers and others, along with 56 responses from NIH, and found that the vast majority of submissions (79%) supported continued microbicide research.
AFC launched the Safe and Sound Return Partnership (SSRP) this year, which is a three-year program that will help coordinate services for citizens returning to communities from jail or prison who are living with HIV. In 2018, this program enrolled 52 clients and plans to grow to 215 clients by 2020. SSRP strives to ensure that clients are retained in care by reducing structural barriers, such as lack of employment or housing, by providing comprehensive resources and connecting clients to the services they need to stay healthy.
AFC'S COMMITMENT TO ADVANCING HEALTH EQUITY CONTINUED THROUGH 2018. WITH BOTH NEW AND EXISTING PROGRAMS, AFC WORKED TO CONNECT OUR NEIGHBORS TO THE SERVICES THEY NEED AND PROVIDE RESOURCES TO COMMUNITIES MOST IMPACTED BY HIV AND CHRONIC CONDITIONS.
149 CASE MANAGEMENT POSITIONS
AFC supported 149 case management positions across 36 agencies and served 6,236 clients in 2018.
Almost 87% of AFC’s Ryan White case-managed clients were virally suppressed – a 6% increase from 2017.
71% OF PEOPLE
AFC’s CommunityLinks program located 1,314 people who were disconnected from their health insurance and provided health risk assessments for 71% people located.
AFC supported 890 people with long-term housing and supportive services—a 5% increase from 2017. We also helped 347 clients with short-term assistance, including one-time emergency payments, to help them stay stably housed.
One of AFC’s newest programs, The Women’s Connection, launched in 2018 to engage cis- and transgender women of color across the HIV prevention and care continuum to address the disproportionate impact of HIV among women of color in the U.S. The program currently has a total of 67 women engaged between their learning exchange circle and taskforce groups and looks forward to finding new ways to engage more women in care.
AFC is dedicated to sharing the experiences of community members to continue breaking down barriers, eradicate stigma and engage in new and emerging conversations. In 2018, AFC uplifted the voices of 81 thought leaders through video, written and other mediums to build awareness about the importance of HIV-focused services and celebrate the diversity of the community.
81 THOUGHT LEADERS
- PETER McLOYD
- HATARIA JAMES
- TATYANA MOATON
- MARLIN JR.
- SANJAY JOHNSON
- CRIS LEE
HEPATITIS C ADVOCACY
AFC'S POLICY AND ADVOCACY TEAM HAD ANOTHER DYNAMIC YEAR IN 2018 AND SET THE PACE FOR PROTECTING THE RIGHTS OF PEOPLE LIVING WITH AND VULNERABLE TO HIV.
AFC made 12 trips to Washington D.C. to meet with elected officials.
8 HIV ADVOCATES
8 HIV advocates from across Illinois joined AFC staff and advocates from across the country in Washington D.C. for the annual AIDS Watch advocacy event.
140 advocates traveled to Springfield, Illinois to participate in AFC’s HIV Advocacy Day to urge legislators to continue funding for HIV-related and other supportive services. AFC led advocacy for 3 bills in Springfield in 2018.
Using our new Phone to Action hotline and texting system, AFC led advocates to make
phone calls, emails, tweets and Facebook posts to representatives for both local and national campaigns throughout the year to protect the rights of our communities.