Illinois Lottery Launches Game To Fund HIV/AIDS Awareness, Prevention
The Illinois Lottery on Friday launched a game that will raise money for HIV/AIDS prevention and education programs in the state, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The game, called Red Ribbon Cash, will sell two-dollar tickets and have four top prizes of $20,000.
A spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Revenue on Tuesday said the lottery hopes ticket sales will raise $3 million annually, which is the amount a ticket benefiting breast cancer research raised in 2006. According to the Post-Dispatch, all the proceeds will go to support HIV/AIDS programs in the state. Grants will be distributed by the Illinois Department of Public Health. It is not known when enough money will be generated to start awarding grants, the Post-Dispatch reports.
Angele Barnes -- executive director of Bethany Place, a not-for-profit HIV/AIDS education and treatment facility in Belleville, Ill. -- said the group will apply for a grant when the funds become available. Barnes said the money likely will go toward education materials and prevention programs, such as no-cost HIV tests. According to the Post-Dispatch, Illinois ranks sixth among states with the number of AIDS cases recorded since 1981. Last year, 1,906 HIV cases and 814 AIDS cases were reported in the state, the Post-Dispatch reports (Haughney, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2/20).
"With so many Illinoisans afflicted with this terrible disease, we must continue to create opportunities that raise awareness and to fund prevention and treatment options," Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) said, adding, "The dollars raised from this ticket will provide grants for HIV/AIDS prevention and education in communities across the state, especially in the communities that have been hardest hit with the disease." According to a Blagojevich release, all grants funded by the program will be reviewed and approved by a special advisory board called the Quality of Life Board (Blagojevich release, 2/11).