|For Immediate Release|
|Contact: Mike Lang (217) 524-5158|
|Chanele Newton (312) 368-5814|
Chicago, IL—June 5, 2013 — This week the Illinois Lottery, in partnership with the Illinois Department of Public Health and a host of Illinois-based HIV/AIDS advocates, launched Spread the Word — a lottery game where 100 percent of net proceeds are used for HIV/AIDS education, prevention and support programs that serve Illinoisans living with HIV/AIDS. The Illinois Lottery is the only lottery in the nation with a game whose profits are used exclusively to fund HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs.
Since 2008, the Illinois Lottery has contributed over $4.7 million to the fight against HIV/AIDS, through previous iterations of this game. The Lottery expects to raise an additional $1 million from the new game for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment efforts.
“Spread the Word is a perfect example of what a Lottery is all about,” said Michael Jones, Superintendent of the Illinois Lottery. “Lotteries exist to fund important causes. In Illinois, those causes include public schools, roads and bridges, and four special areas determined by the Illinois Legislature: Veterans’ programs, MS research, Breast Cancer research, and services that support people with HIV/AIDS. With the new Spread the Word game, anyone who would like to support this cause can buy a $2 Spread the Word instant ticket and have a chance to win up to$20,000 cash. If they play and lose, they know their money will go to fund vital support services for people in Illinois living with HIV/AIDS.”
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the agency responsible for administering Spread the Word grants, Illinois ranks seventh nationwide in the diagnosis of HIV infections, and fifth in the estimated number of AIDS cases. In 2011, there were 1,760 new cases of HIV/AIDS diagnosed in Illinois. In Chicago, there are more than 20,000 people living with HIV/AIDS — three times the national prevalence rate.
“Knowing your HIV status puts you in greater control. I encourage everyone to utilize the resources available — many of which are free and confidential — to get tested,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. “We’re proud that our partnership with the Illinois Lottery through this specialty ticket will continue to provide much-needed resources for people living with HIV/AIDS in Illinois.”
Spread the Word was officially unveiled at the James R. Thompson Center Wednesday, June 5 during the Chicago National HIV Testing Collaborative’s “Step Up, Get Tested” campaign. More information on the month-long testing campaign is available at www.stepupgettested.com The Spread the Word instant game is available at more than 8,100 Illinois Lottery retailers throughout the state. If you don’t see Spread the Word displayed at your local retailer, please ask for it.
About Illinois Lottery
Founded in 1974, the Illinois Lottery has contributed over $17.5 billion to the state Common School Fund to assist K-12 public schools, as well as the Capital Projects Fund. Players must be at least 18 years old. More information is available at www.illinoislottery.com.
About HIV/AIDS in Illinois
For more information about HIV/AIDS in Illinois, call the Illinois AIDS/HIV & STD Hotline at 1-800-243-2437 or TTY (hearing impaired use only) 1-800-782-0423. It’s free and anonymous (no names). Trained counselors can help to answer your questions and help you to find a testing site that’s right for you. They are available seven days a week (9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends). To find the closest free HIV testing site by calling the department’s HIV/AIDS and STD Hotline at 1-800-AID-AIDS (1-800-243-2437). IDPH’s innovative Text2Survive mobile service also provides free HIV testing locations by texting IL plus ZIP code to 36363. This service is also available in Spanish by texting “CENTRO” plus ZIP code to 36363.