FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mike Lang (IL Lottery)
Micaeh Johnson (commonground)
Original documentary on state of HIV/AIDS in Illinois screened at Gene Siskel Film Center, as part of launch
Chicago – August 7, 2012 – As part of its mission to raise funds for worthy causes, including programs that provide HIV prevention, raise awareness and deliver support services to Illinoisans living with the disease, the Illinois Lottery is partnering with the Illinois Department of Public Health to launch a new Red Ribbon Cash lottery instant game expected to raise $1 million for the cause. As part of the game launch, a 15-minute documentary on the state of the disease in Illinois was screened today at the Gene Siskel Film Center, before an audience of people committed to stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Red Ribbon Cash profits fund HIV/AIDS prevention education and grants to public and private organizations that serve the highest at-risk groups for contracting HIV or developing AIDS. Since 2008, this ticket, the only Lottery ticket of its kind nationally, has contributed over $4 million to the fight against HIV/AIDS. The 2012 recipients included: Project Vida, Cook County Department of Public Health, Chicago Black Gay, Men's Caucus, Brothers Health Collective, Sisters and Brothers Helping Each Other, Asian Human Services, Proactive Community Health Services, Mia Raza (Douglas County), Emmaus Ministries, AIDS Legal Council of Chicago, Families’ & Children’s AIDS Network (FCAN), Institute for Positive Living Writers, Planners, Trainers (East St. Louis), and Phoenix Center (Springfield).
“The Illinois Lottery exists to fund causes important to the citizens of our state. Most of our games generate funds for schools or roads and bridges. The legislature created four special games whose profits benefit specific causes: veterans programs, MS research, Breast Cancer research, and today with Red Ribbon Cash we launch a new instant game that awards $40,000 instant prizes and will create $1 million in funding for HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness groups.” said Lottery Superintendent, Michael Jones.
Illinois ranked 7th nationwide in the diagnosis of HIV infections, and 6th nationwide in the estimated number of AIDS cases in 2010, the most current year for which national data is available. By the end of 2011, more than 1,700 new cases of HIV and AIDS were estimated.
The populations in Illinois with the highest number of new infections include gay and bisexual men of all races and ethnicities, “high risk” heterosexuals and injection drug users. African Americans in Illinois are disproportionately impacted by HIV, representing about 14 percent of the population in Illinois yet accounted for half of all new HIV infections in 2010.
“We have made some progress in our fight against HIV/AIDS, but there is still more to do,” Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck said. “During these tight budgetary times, your purchase of a Red Ribbon Cash lottery ticket will provide additional funding for treatment and prevention programs needed in many poor and minority communities.”
To commemorate the Red Ribbon Cash ticket, the Lottery’s advertising agency, “commonground,” which was recently named ‘Small Agency of the Year’ by Advertising Age, created the tickets, the lottery’s advertising campaign, and a 15-minute documentary, 4orty6ix, to recognize Illinoisans living with HIV/AIDS. The documentary offers viewers a look at the human side of HIV/AIDS, and highlights how a lottery game, Red Ribbon Cash, helps fund efforts to combat the disease.
The $3 Red Ribbon Cash instant lottery ticket is available now at Illinois Lottery retailers throughout the state and offers top prizes of $40,000. If you don’t see the ticket 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.
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.