Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says a partnership between the city’s health department and community health organizations has led to treating 3,600 people who live with HIV.
Emanuel said in a press release Saturday that this means the city is serving more people living with HIV than ever before.
Hadeis Safi is an HIV tester and health educator at the Center on Halsted in the Boystown neighborhood. He says the news is good, but there’s still work to do.
“More people are getting care, but it’s also important to remember that it’s more poeple of a specific demographic that are getting care,” he said. “Communities of color are still really under-represented and have much less access to care and treatment, and they’re the communities that are being hit the hardest by HIV.”
Safi said it’s important for clinics to be trustworthy, welcoming and safe to ensure people will continue their medical treatments.
The program involves HIV Primary Care clinics in the Englewood and Uptown neighborhoods, have some of the highest diagnosis rates.
The mayor’s press release said HIV diagnosis rates in Chicago have declined steadily over the last decade.
“The epidemic isn’t over, it’s just shifted,” Safi said.
Greta Johnsen is a reporter and anchor for WBEZ. Follow her @gretamjohnsen.