simmons 022724SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Mike Simmons stood with the Black Leadership Advocacy Coalition for Healthcare Equity today for Black HIV/AIDS Advocacy Day to celebrate the accomplishments in HIV prevention and care and to recognize the work still needed to overcome structural barriers to testing, prevention and treatment in Black communities.

“We have taken steps to reduce the disproportionate impact of HIV and AIDS on Black communities, but disparities continue to exist,” said Simmons (D-Chicago). "It is crucial that we have conversations about HIV/AIDS to increase education, testing, community involvement and treatment among Black communities.”

First observed in 1999, Feb. 7 is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. The day serves to acknowledge how HIV disproportionately affects Black people and spark conversations to overcome barriers such as racism, discrimination and mistrust in the health care system that may affect whether Black people seek or receive HIV prevention services.

Research shows racial disparities often stem from limited access to high-quality HIV prevention and treatment services. Coverage of PrEP — an HIV preventative medicine — for example, is lower among Black communities. Studies from the CDC show only 8% of Black people who could benefit from PrEP were prescribed it in 2019, compared to 23% of people overall. Simmons is proud to have secured $2.5 million in the Fiscal Year 2024 budget for HIV/AIDS reduction efforts targeted to helping communities access life-saving PrEP medications, as well as added capacity for STI screening.

Simmons joined the Black Leadership Advocacy Coalition for Healthcare Equity for a day of advocacy and presented them with a proclamation to commend their work of uplifting and providing equitable resources for Black communities living with HIV/AIDS.

“Identifying and dismantling systemically racist policies and funding processes in the health care system is essential to bringing HIV diagnoses down to zero by 2030,” said Simmons. “National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day uplifts those engaged in this work, like the Black Leadership Advocacy Coalition for Healthcare Equity, and encourages others to join the fight in supporting access to equitable and culturally-competent care.”

For more information and HIV/AIDS prevention tips, please visit