The month of June is Gay Pride month across America. The number of deaths from AIDS has declined dramatically in the U.S. since the epidemic of the Eighties and Nineties. But HIV is on the rise again, in young gay men. Friday is National HIV Testing Day. The federal Centers for Disease Control says Chicago is a nationwide leader in finding new ways to test those most at risk for HIV. Three hospitals, 60 social service agencies and a corps of physicians and social workers in Chicago have teamed up to make combatting HIV a priority. WGLT's Judy Valente explores some of the unconventional ways health care providers in that city are trying to reach out to young adults at risk.
Earlier this week, the National Institutes of Health announced it is giving an $8.7 million grant to Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, the Chicago Department of Health and other community organizations to conduct a five-year study on why HIV is rising so rapidly again among young gay men, and what can be done to stem the spread of the infection.
How do HIV services in McLean County stack up against those offered in a large city like Chicago? As part of her reporting, Judy Valente spent time at the McLean County Health Department, where fighting HIV is a daily uphill battle.
Some of the newest and most costly HIV medications, like the prevention drug Pre-exposure Prophylaxis, or PreP, are not available through the McLean County Health Department. For those and some of the other most advanced medications, patients must seek out the drugs at hospitals or clinics in Chicago.
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