CRUSADER COMMUNITY HEALTH COMMEMORATES WORLD AIDS DAY THROUGH IMPROVED HIV TESTING
Press Conference: Thursday, December 1, 2016, 10:00 a.m.
Crusader Community Health on West State Street, 1200 W. State Street, Rockford
Contact: Caprisha Perteete, Crusader Rapid HIV Coordinator, 815-490-1751
Crusader Community Health joins the Winnebago County Health Department and the Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago, at press conference on Thursday, December 1, 2016, 10 am, at the Crusader on West State Street, 1200 W. State Street, Rockford, to announce the “Protecting our Patients Campaign—Breaking Stigma that Hinders HIV Testing and Care”.
Recognizing that without medical care, HIV still leads to AIDS and early death, Crusader initiated a rapid HIV screening to all patients at its five sites. HIV is still prevalent in the Rockford community especially among minority & LGBTQ population. Crusader was selected by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to work on the Care and Prevention project based on the HIV diagnosis rate among minorities within the area. The goal of the project were to expand and improve HIV testing. Since the testing program started, a total of 21 confirmed positive cases were linked to care through the Crusader HIV program. In 2015, Crusader’s Living with HIV Program served 340 HIV/AIDS patients, a 12% increase over the past ten years.
Crusader has been recognized as the number one AIDS related project in the State of Illinois for their care and prevention of HIV rapid testing. Caprisha Perteete, Crusader Rapid HIV Coordinator, worked to increase testing for all Crusader patients regardless of race, sexual orientation, or any risk factors. She works to break down the barriers that hinder patients from getting tested and into treatment.
The CDC estimates that roughly 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV and nearly one in eight of those are not aware that they are infected. As a result of treatment advances since the late 1990’s, the number of people living with HIV has increased dramatically. However, without medical care, HIV still leads to AIDS and early death. Treatment can help people with HIV live longer, healthier lives and also greatly reduces the chances of transmitting HIV to others. Crusader’s effort to accelerate access to testing, treatment and prevention strategies for all individuals at risk ensures that patients have the knowledge and tools needed to protect themselves and their partners.
For the past 25 years, the Crusader Living with HIV Program has provided access to primary care, an onsite pharmacy, dental, optical, mental health, case management and prenatal services to 350 patients across nine counties in the Northwestern Illinois region. The Crusader staff utilizes a holistic chronic disease management model to assist persons affected by HIV. It is the only clinic in the region providing Ryan White part C early intervention care.