Chicago Tribune (10.23.03) - Thursday, October 23, 2003
Five Chicago-area health centers will split about $6 million
in grants to combat HIV and drug abuse, the Substance Abuse
and Mental Health Services Administration announced Wednesday.
The grants are intended to help minority communities
disproportionately affected by drug abuse and HIV, and the
money will fund programs that address both conditions
simultaneously. "When a person is under the influence of a
substance, their judgment is impaired. Therefore, some of them
are engaged in very high-risk activities, such as unprotected
sex or sharing needles," said Carlos Chavez of Elgin's Renz
Addiction Counseling Center, which will receive $102,000 for a
program aimed at Latino men who have sex with men.
The University of Illinois-Chicago will receive $2 million
over five years to help drug users on Chicago's Southeast
Side. A similar program tried in some Chicago neighborhoods in
the late 1980s "saw a 75 percent drop in the rate of new HIV
infections, and it stayed that way for four years," noted
public health professor Larry Quellet.
This year, Cook County prosecutors decided to seek treatment
as a probation requirement for people convicted of drug
crimes. Chicago's Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities,
which already works with people referred by prosecutors or
probation officers, is expected to increase its number of
clients to 12,000 from 4,000 a year, said Executive Vice
President Pam Rodriguez. TASC will get $2 million over five
years to deal with the influx of probationers.
Genesis House, a group that helps women leave prostitution,
will receive almost $1.8 million over five years. Randomly
selected clients will get daylong counseling covering topics
from HIV to domestic violence, while others will not. Both
groups will have access to Genesis House's usual services,
including drug treatment, and a comparison will be made to see
if counseling made a difference, said Lisa Nicholson, the
group's director of program operations.
Governors State University-University Park will use a $102,002
grant to design a substance abuse and high-risk sexual
behavior prevention program for middle-school children.