25th Anniversary of the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center Also Recognized

Cook County Health officials, staff from the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center and local elected officials gathered to recognize World AIDS Day on December 1.

This year marks the 35th anniversary of World AIDS Day, an annual event that serves as: a reminder of the global struggle to end HIV-related stigma; an opportunity to honor those lost to the disease; and a rallying cry to commit to working towards a day when HIV is no longer a public health threat.

In Illinois, more than 35,000 people were living with HIV in 2021, with more than 1,100 new diagnoses in that year.  Nearly 44 percent of individuals living with HIV are African American.

“As we reflect on the progress made, it is essential to acknowledge the work that lies ahead,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said. “We must increase our efforts to ensure that every resident, regardless of their background or circumstances, has access to the resources needed to prevent, manage and overcome HIV/AIDS.”

The event was held at the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center, which was established in 1998. Since then, it has grown to become one of the largest HIV/AIDS clinics in the United States, treating thousands of patients annually for HIV/AIDS care along with other infectious diseases.

The CORE Center provides wrap-around services for patients, including primary and specialty care, dental and lab services, and social services.

“Twenty-five years ago, the CORE Center opened, expanding on Cook County Health’s historic mission and ensuring that residents affected by infectious diseases would be treated with dignity, respect and compassion, regardless of ability to pay,” said Cook County Health CEO Israel Rocha. “It is because of the tireless work of our dedicated staff and the efforts of our community partners and other government agencies that individuals living with HIV or AIDS have access to the highest levels of care and can live long and fulfilling lives.”

“The impact of the CORE Center is immeasurable,” President Preckwinkle said. “The teams have touched the lives of countless individuals and families who have found solace and support within its walls.”

In recent years, Cook County Health and Cook County HIV Integrated Programs (CCHIP) have also added access points for patients to receive Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) – a preventive HIV medication; access testing, education and supportive services; and receive medical monitoring.

In 2020, Cook County Health and CCHIP provided care to more than 5,700 patients or 39 percent of people living with HIV in the Chicagoland area who are serviced through the Chicago Department of Public Health’s Population Centered Health Homes. More than 89 percent of those patients cared for were virally suppressed.

The CORE Center is located at 2020 W. Harrison St., Chicago. Individuals needing care, regardless of their ability to pay or immigration status, can make an appointment at 312-572-4500.