Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker chose Rockford as the site to sign an executive order to fund treatment for HIV.
Pritzker was at the Winnebago County Health Department, 555 N Court Street, early Friday morning, promising to end the HIV epidemic in Illinois.
Pritzker blamed former Gov. Bruce Rauner for cutting prevention programs over the last four years.
The executive order reverses those cuts.
“HIV testing rates have gone down. HIV prevention agencies layoff staff. Now is not the time to back down from this fight. Now is the time to double down on this fight,” Pritzker said.
The lifetime cost of treating rather than preventing HIV infections is more than $400,000. Pritzker says his order will ultimately save taxpayers money.
Newly sworn in 67th District representative Maurice West (D) applauded the governor’s actions, saying in part, “With HIV affecting so many communities across the state, I’m glad that Governor Pritzker is combating this epidemic head-on and ensuring Illinoisians living with HIV have access to the health care they depend on.”