IPHA's Jeffery Erdman provides comments in Chicago Tribune article about the budget impasse effects on HIV in Illinois
Under normal circumstances, Jeffery Erdman would be encouraged by the drop in the number of people testing positive for HIV.
Instead, the decrease is another emblem of the damage wrought by Illinois' historic budget stalemate — damage that in some cases can't be reversed by the eleventh-hour budget deal struck by Gov. Bruce Rauner and lawmakers last week.
The yearlong impasse forced many health departments and social service agencies to scale back HIV screening and halt community outreach programs. So while new HIV cases in Chicago's collar counties plunged by 50 percent, experts say that was in part a consequence of fewer people being screened. Testing is down nearly 70 percent in some areas, said Erdman, assistant director for programs at the nonprofit Illinois Public Health Association.
"I'm worried," he said. "It means that people are not getting tested in the numbers that they were, which means we're not identifying new positives, which means people are walking around with HIV infection and they don't know it."
Click here to view the full Chicago Tribune article on the budget impasse effects on HIV in Illinois