Illinois Lottery game to fund HIV/AIDS programs

CHICAGO — The Illinois Lottery will use the net proceeds from a new game to promote HIV/AIDS education, prevention and support, the agency said Wednesday.

The Illinois Department of Public Health and several HIV/AIDS organizations in the state announced the launch of Spread the Word, the only lottery in the country with a game whose profits will be used exclusively to fund HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs.

"Lotteries exist to fund important causes," Illinois Lottery superintendent Michael Jones said. "In Illinois, those causes include public schools, roads and bridges and four special areas determined by the Illinois Legislature: veterans' programs, MS research, breast cancer research and services that support people with HIV/AIDS."

Since 2008, the lottery has contributed more than $4.7 million to HIV/AIDS programs, mostly through previous iterations of the Spread the Word game, and it expects to raise an additional $1 million from the new game. Illinois ranks seventh nationwide in the diagnosis of HIV infections, and fifth in the estimated number of AIDS cases, according to the state health department.