SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Department of Public Health Center for Minority Health Services launched the new HIV/AIDS Testing Center Locator initiative, Text 2 Survive, earlier this month to help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Using a mobile phone, any Illinoisan can send a text with the message IL plus their five digit zip code to the phone number "89183." That person will instantly receive a confidential text message back to their phone with the nearest HIV/AIDS testing center contact information. To help spread the benefits of getting tested, that person can then send their friends a text message urging them to get tested as well.
"In this day and age of modern technology, we need to reach out to and educate people in a way that keeps up with the times," said Dr. Damon T. Arnold, state public health director. "Mobile phones offer a quick and easy way to receive information - and in this case - information that could save someone's life."
People who Text 2 Survive will be entered for a chance to win weekly $50 gift cards; if they text the information to a friend, their name is entered again. In addition, those who get tested and confirm their testing by texting the center's name will be entered for a chance to win a $200 gift card.
As of May 2009, provisional numbers show approximately 34,500 people in Illinois have been reported to be living with HIV or AIDS.
Sweepstakes rules are available at www.riproad.com/idph. Sweepstakes ends July 1, 2009, but prizes can be claimed through July 31, 2009. For questions, call Veronica Halloway at 217-524-6525.