Illinois HIV Care Connect (www.hivcareconnect.com) today announced an effort to create higher awareness of its services by communicating program benefits and other HIV-related information via social media and a Spanish-language Web site (http://www.hivcareconnect.com/index-es.html).
Illinois HIV Care Connect is a statewide network providing medical case management, health care and support services to people living with HIV. Seven lead agencies coordinate the services provided to eight Illinois regions through the program, which is funded by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and federal grants and supported by the Illinois Public Health Association (IPHA). About 36,000 Illinois residents are estimated to be HIV-positive. The lead agencies are located in Rockford, Peoria, Springfield, Belleville, Murphysboro, Champaign and Chicago.
This effort is all about extending HIV prevention and treatment across Illinois, said Tom Hughes, IPHA executive director. By preventing HIV and helping those living with HIV find early and ongoing treatment, we can improve health outcomes and reduce medical costs.
Illinois HIV Care Connects English Web site (www.hivcareconnect.com) and associated outreach services were launched in 2009. Since then, the Web site has become a valuable source of information for people living with HIV in Illinois and their health care providers, with visits to the Web site increasing to more than 800 per month. Visitors to the site can find information about Illinois HIV Care Connect, as well as information about the Illinois AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), Continuation of Health Insurance Coverage (CHIC) Program and other services.
To help the Illinois Spanish-speaking population prevent and find treatment for HIV, a Spanish version of the Web site (http://www.hivcareconnect.com/index-es.html) was created earlier this year. Hispanics account for about 20 percent of new HIV infections in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Illinois HIV Care Connect is launching:
- an English Twitter feed (https://twitter.com/ILCareConnect),
- Facebook pages in English (https://www.facebook.com/ILCareConnect) and Spanish (https://www.facebook.com/ILCareConnectSpanish),
- and Google+ pages in English (http://tinyurl.com/ILCareConnect) and Spanish (http://tinyurl.com/ILCareConnectSpanish).
Social media is popular especially among young people, and the 20-34 age group has the highest number of HIV diagnoses in the United States, according to the CDC. Since most individuals in this age group access the Internet via mobile devices, Illinois HIV Care Connect is now developing a mobile version of both its English and Spanish Web site.
Illinois HIV Care Connect is a program of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), which is responsible for administering Part B of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, and supported by the Illinois Public Health Association. Illinois HIV Care Connect is a comprehensive network of health care and support services for people living with HIV. Illinois HIV Care Connect is coordinated by regional administrative offices covering all of Illinois 102 counties. IDPH also supports the AIDS Drug Assistance Program and the Continuation of Health Insurance Coverage Program.