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HIV/AIDS Prevention Specialist Reminds Virus Is '100% Preventable'

Illinois State University

A central Illinois HIV/AIDS health educator and advocate is reminding everyone the virus and disease are completely preventable.

Chris Wade, is the HIV project coordinator at the Illinois Public Health Association; director of prevention services for Central Illinois Friends of People With AIDS; and co-chair of the Illinois Alliance for Sound AIDS Policy (ILASAP). He will give the keynote address Thursday, December 1 as World AIDS Day events wind up at Illinois State University.

In a GLT Sound Ideas interview, Wade said contracting the virus that causes AIDS remains 100 percent preventable.

"Condoms have been, and always will be, 100 percent effective in reducing transmission. I think condoms have more or less been minimized. There are actually a lot of young men out there who don't know how to use condoms correctly," Wade said."

While Wade works touches all demographics, his emphasis is on communities of color. He said black men need to get tested and talk to partners about risky behavior.

"Education and prevention are so important. But if there is accidental exposure, there are things out there such as post-exposure prophylaxis that we can get to prevent transmission. There just hasn't been enough education and outreach in the community," Wade said. 

Regarding funding for HIV/AIDS prevention and care in a Donald Trump administration, Wade said he's 'very optimistic.'

"There's a structure in place that is providing services, however there have been rumblings on Capitol Hill about reducing funds for HIV. We have the Ryan White CARE Act which has sunset a long time ago. Any cuts to that program are going to cause struggle, and generally those cuts come on the prevention side," Wade said.

You can see panels from the National AIDS Quilt at the ISU Bone Student Center Brown Ballroom Monday, Nov. 28 from noon to 8 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday Nov. 29 and 30 from 10 a.m to 8 p.m. and Thursday Dec. 1 until Wade's address at 7 p.m.

Willis is a Bloomington, IL, native. During his senior year at Bloomington High School, he finished third in the "Radio Speaking" division of the state speech contest, the only year he competed.