Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich this week requested a $3.1 million increase for the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program and an extra $1 million for HIV prevention for minority communities in his fiscal 2005 budget proposal, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago reports. "With these increases, governor Blagojevich has shown true leadership in the fight against AIDS," said Mark Ishaug, AFC executive director. "[The] budget proposal ensures that thousands of people living with HIV will continue to have access to life-saving medications and that people at risk for HIV will have the education and support they need to prevent the spread of the epidemic." The additional funding for ADAP, combined with an estimated $2.4 million in new federal funds, means that Illinois will continue to provide one of the most comprehensive ADAP programs in the country, AFC officials say.
Of the $3.1 million ADAP increase, Blagojevich earmarked $1.6 million for program expansion, allowing ADAP clients access to psychotropic drugs and other therapies needed to manage HIV. "Adding these classes of drugs to ADAP significantly increases our ability to address the comprehensive health needs of people living with HIV/AIDS," said Ishaug. The $1 million increase in HIV prevention funding brings the total request for minority-specific prevention programs to $3 million. In 2002 people of color represented 70% of Illinois AIDS cases. Although African-Americans represent only 16% of the state's population they make up more than 56% of recently diagnosed HIV cases.