ROCKFORD, Ill. – State Rep. Maurice West II, D-Rockford, joined Gov. JB Pritzker and local advocates Friday as the governor signed an executive order aimed at tackling the HIV epidemic in Illinois.
“With HIV affecting so many communities across the state, I’m glad that Gov. Pritzker is combating this epidemic head-on and ensuring Illinoisans living with HIV have access to the health care they depend on,” West said. “While the state hasn’t always been a good partner, the governor is turning the page and writing a new future when it comes to ending the HIV epidemic once and for all.”
Under former Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration, funding for critical preventative programs and services for HIV were dramatically cut. In response, Pritzker’s executive order commits the Office of the Governor, the Department of Public Health and the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to work with stakeholders to ensure the state is effectively investing in agencies, programs and services aimed at ending the HIV epidemic. This includes funding for increased HIV testing and prevention, as well as supporting an effort eliminated in 2015 that worked to expand access to the HIV-preventing pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication.
The executive order also instructs state agencies, in coordination with Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MMCO), to deliver a report to the governor within 90 days with a plan on how MMCOs can share data with the state regarding viral load metrics so that the state can better monitor progress.
“Nearly 40,000 residents in Illinois are impacted by HIV,” West said. “In the wake of drastic cuts to critical programs that help connect residents to care, it’s important that we again prioritize these individuals and other essential services that deserve to be restored.”