The 37th Annual Proud To Run 5k/10k is Saturday, June 23, 2018!

It’s as important as ever to unite and move ahead with purpose and pride. And most important of all, to support PACPI, a direct beneficiary!

In 2017, Proud To Run brought together over 2,000 runners, 200 volunteers, and hundreds of friends, families, and community partners.

This year, let’s gather in even greater numbers — in solidarity as a community, in gratitude to our allies, and with love for the city of Chicago. Register today to volunteer or run with PACPI:!

This year, let’s Run. Forward.




Black Women’s Health Empowerment Blog Feature

LeSherri James’ featured blog originally appeared on the Black Women’s Health Empowerment website on April 28, 2016.


When you’re pregnant and HIV-positive, where do you turn?
By LeSherri James

In 2003, I was pregnant, homeless, and HIV-positive. But worst of all, I felt completely helpless and had nowhere to turn for help. I received my diagnosis after my senior year of high school; in college, I thought I might be pregnant. I went to the doctor to make sure.

The doctor confirmed the pregnancy. This should be a happy experience in a woman’s life, but for many women living with HIV it is confusing, scary and stressful. Pregnancy for HIV-positive women is often filled with unsympathetic strangers, family members and even medical professionals. Lucky for me, my mother was with me every step of the way.

Unfortunately, my doctor was a generalist and didn’t know how to provide care to someone living with HIV, let alone help them deliver a healthy baby. I needed the care of an HIV specialist. I waited at the hospital for six hours before my doctor referred me to someone who could help. That was when the hospital’s HIV social worker directed me to the Pediatric AIDS Chicago Prevention Initiative (PACPI), which connected me to the care I needed.

I was immediately assigned a case manager, Jaime, who genuinely cared about my health and wellbeing. Jaime made sure I got to my doctor’s appointments on time, filled my prescriptions and enrolled in prenatal training courses so I could learn how to care for my child. She also helped me sign up for health insurance and food assistance and find my very own apartment. The support PACPI provided is the reason my daughter was born without HIV. And even after I delivered, PACPI continued to empower and teach me how to be a strong and independent mother – something I wouldn’t be without them.

PAPCI saved me. I can’t imagine my life without this organization. Besides my mother, PACPI was the only support I had during my pregnancy. Today, I am able to provide for myself and my children and, most importantly, my daughter and son are HIV-negative and completely healthy.

We’re the lucky ones. But with the proposed cuts to the Illinois state budget, programs like PACPI may have to close their doors because Gov. Bruce Rauner considers them to be “nonessential.” Excuse me? That budget provided the resources to save my life and the lives of my babies—how can the governor, who swore an oath to protect the citizens of Illinois, consider our lives “nonessential”?

If a program that gives HIV-positive pregnant women the resources they need to deliver healthy babies shuts down, these vulnerable mothers will be left on their own without the tools or knowledge to navigate their delicate situation.

Without PACPI, what will happen to other expectant mothers who need help and empowerment like I did and have nowhere else to go? What will the 130 women PACPI supports each year do without care and guidance? What will happen to their children?

Do our lives not matter?

It’s time for the governor and the General Assembly to come together to pass a budget that doesn’t cut vital social services. Such a budget would not only keep PACPI running, but it would help women give birth to a future without HIV.

LeSherri James lives in Chicago.




Season of Concern, the Chicagoland theatre community’s fundraising effort that provides compassionate care to people in our community who are experiencing the effects of catastrophic illness, is pleased to announce that they recently distributed a total of $80,000 to 16 Chicago-area AIDS service organizations. Grant awards are distributed annually and support a variety of essential programs and services for those in the Chicago community in need.

Season of Concern Board member, Richard Turner, chair of the Season of Concern Grants Committee, had this to say about this year’s grant recipients: “With many service providers delivering services while they struggle for financial support, Season of Concern is very pleased to be able to award these 16 grants. Our grants are modest, and we want the recipients to know that we recognize the depth and importance of their work.”

Season of Concern has awarded $5,000 to each of the following agencies:

Alexian Brothers, The Boulevard of Chicago,  CALOR,  The Care2Prevent program at The University of Chicago,  Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago,  Center on Halsted,  Chicago House and Social Service Agency,  The Chicago Women’s AIDS Project,  Children’s Place Association, Heartland Alliance,  Howard Brown Health,   Legal Council for Health Justice,   Open Door,  The Pediatric AIDS Chicago Prevention Initiative,  Sinai Health System and Test Positive Aware Network.

Since 1987, Season of Concern has distributed over $2.5 million to more than 35 different Chicago-based AIDS service organizations. Created by Chicago theatre artists to provide care for people in the theatre community living with AIDS-related illnesses, Season of Concern has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from generous artists and theatre patrons to benefit hundreds of people in the entertainment industry – actors, directors, designers, technicians, playwrights, stage managers – who are experiencing health-related emergencies and medical issues.

In addition, Season of Concern’s Biscotto-Miller Fund provides financial assistance to individuals in the Chicago theatre community who are experiencing a catastrophic illness or a health-related emergency or event, including but not limited to HIV/AIDS. The fund was created in 1985 to honor the memory of stage manager Tommy Biscotto and actor J. Pat Miller.  Season of Concern also gives sustaining support to the Chicago office of The Actors Fund, the national human services organization that helps entertainment and performing arts professionals in theatre, film, music, opera, television and dance through a broad spectrum of social, health, employment and housing programs that address their essential and critical needs. Funding provided by Season of Concern goes directly to the Chicago office of The Actors Fund Chicago, which oversees services for the entertainment community in Chicago and throughout the Midwest.


Frank Farrell Manager of Communication and Fund Raising Events
Season of Concern

Pediatric AIDS Chicago Prevention Initiative Receives $19,000 From Chicago Foundation for Women

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Jamie Boban, Development Manager


Chicago Foundation for Women awards more than half a million dollars to local nonprofit programs to improve women and girls’ access to health and health information, and ensure they remain free from violence.


  • Pediatric AIDS Chicago Prevention Initiative (PACPI) was awarded $19,000 for their Perinatal Enhanced Case Management program from Chicago Foundation for Women’s Health portfolio.
  • The Spring 2016 cycle at Chicago Foundation for Women awarded $731,712 in grants to 67 Chicagoland programs.
  • One of three key issue areas for Chicago Foundation for Women, the Health portfolio works with leading nonprofit and community-centered programs to ensure women and girls have access to health information and quality health care.
  • PACPI’s Perinatal Enhanced Case Management program intends to help vulnerable pregnant women who are living with HIV to have healthy newborns who are HIV-negative and establish a strong connection to a system of care for each mother and infant pair.


PACPI works to eliminate pediatric AIDS and reduce transmission of the virus from mothers to their children in Illinois. PACPI collaborates with community-based organizations and public and private institutions to create a Safety Net of Prevention so that no pregnant woman living with HIV or infant exposed to HIV falls through the cracks for care and treatment. Learn more at


About Chicago Foundation for Women: Chicago Foundation for Women is a grant making organization dedicated to increasing resources and opportunities for women and girls in the greater Chicago area. To support its philanthropy, the Foundation promotes increased investment in women and girls, raises awareness about their issues and potential, and develops them as leaders and philanthropists. Learn more at

Take a stand for PACPI

More than 9 months without a state budget, PACPI continues to serve families in need despite non-payment of contracted services

PACPI has signed contracts with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) totaling more than $848,000 for high-impact treatment and prevention services for pregnant mothers with HIV.

IDPH has been a supporter of perinatal HIV prevention services for the state and has been a main source of funding for these vital programs. However, state dollars are being held hostage by our state’s leaders and this is impacting the most vulnerable women and children in our state.

If the state does not pay for these services, PACPI may have no choice but to end our programs.

PACPI executive director Anne Statton stated during an interview on Fox 32 Chicago, “[PACPI] can’t turn away women today while we still have a dollar in the bank.”

PACPI board, staff, and volunteers are fighting to continue our vital services. While we are being conservative with funds, we have had to make some cuts to our programs.

Our board of directors is dedicated to fundraising and refreshing our strategic direction, currently working on new growth strategies for future impact on Illinois women and children.

When women with HIV are connected to care, adhering to their antiretroviral regimen, and using formula, perinatal transmission risk is less than 1%, compared to 25% if the mother is not in proper treatment.[1]

Q: What makes the difference between less than 1 baby in 100 being born with HIV and 1 in 4 babies born with HIV?
A: Access to medical care, education, and social service support.

PACPI has a 99% success rate in preventing HIV transmission by working with women during and after pregnancy to access care. So far, there are no confirmed cases of perinatal HIV transmission in Illinois for 2015.

Without PACPI services, vulnerable pregnant women may transmit HIV to their infants.

All PACPI clients are low-income and 80% are African-American, a community where HIV is an epidemic. By failing to support these services, the state is ensuring that the epidemic continues.

The estimated lifetime costs of treating a child born with HIV is estimated at over $1 million. By preventing HIV transmission to an infant, PACPI helps save the state upwards of $35 million in lifetime costs of treatment each year.

PACPI services address additional conditions that complicate pregnancy and motherhood including mental illness, substance use, homelessness, poverty, domestic violence, refugee or asylee status, current or previous incarceration, child welfare involvement, and other illnesses.

The programs include enhanced case managementthe 24/7 statewide Hotline, and statewide rapid HIV testing implementation. These services are part of the CDC-commended Safety Net of Perinatal HIV Prevention in Illinois.

Take a stand for PACPI. Use your voice to save vulnerable children and families.

  1. Tell your representative that PACPI’s work is valuable to the whole state and is an investment to save lives and prevent further expenses to our health and social services system.
  2. Tell the Governor and your lawmaker to pass a responsible budget with revenue to serve Illinois citizens, not just the wealthy.

[1] CDC Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, 2007.

PACPI is Hiring: Bilingual Perinatal Enhanced Case Manager

PACPI is hiring a bilingual Spanish Perinatal Enhanced Case Manager through the University of Chicago.

Please use this link to view the job description and to apply for the position. Requisition Number: 100095

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, protected veteran status or status as an individual with disability.

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action / Equal Employment Opportunity / Disabled / Veterans Employer.

Jasmine’s Story


“I don’t tell many people I have HIV.” That’s a phrase we hear over and over. This is the same thing Jasmine told me.

Jasmine is 27 years old and has three amazing children.

She first learned she had HIV five years ago when her second child was diagnosed with HIV as a newborn.

A local health center called the 24/7 Illinois Perinatal HIV Hotline in 2015 to connect Jasmine to PACPI case management when she was pregnant with her third child.

Connection to care is vital to prevent HIV transmission during pregnancy.

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Jasmine’s housing situation is not great – she shares a room with all three of her children in Chicago’s Far South Side. But she lives with her parents who love her children and help care for them. This was especially important this year when, because Jasmine was working, cuts to the Child Care Assistance Program disqualified her middle child, who was not yet in kindergarten, from continuing daycare.

Things haven’t been easy – her kindergartner didn’t like the taste of her HIV medication and wasn’t keeping it down. Jasmine would struggle keeping up with the medications for herself and her child; sometimes she would forget if she’d taken her own or not. She also had to work on changing her diet and take iron supplements. It was a lot at one time.

Thanks to PACPI donors, Jasmine’s PACPI case manager connected her whole family to regular HIV, obstetric, and pediatric care and additional support services.

And Jasmine’s newborn does not have HIV!

“Navigating the healthcare system, it’s easier doing it all with her [my case manager] – getting to appointments, filling prescriptions. She helps me on the spot, while we’re sitting together.”

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Even being connected to regular care, Jasmine, her infant, and her middle child all get their care at different health centers which makes attending appointments a huge challenge.

Missing medical appointments due to cost and time is one of the big issues PACPI clients face. This can affect their adherence to their HIV medications, prevent opportunities for learning about best health practices during and after pregnancy, and can poorly affect their children’s health if they miss pediatric appointments.

Jasmine’s case manager was available to help Jasmine coordinate transportation during her pregnancy so she could prevent HIV transmission to her baby and to help her other children receive care.

Having the case manager coordinate care and services made life better for this young mother.

“The best part about my PACPI case manager is access – I could contact her when I needed to and she made other opportunities available to me like support groups, transportation, and benefits. I don’t tell many people about my [HIV] status but was able to talk to her about it.”

Her inspiration to be healthy is to be here for her kids. After attending PACPI’s pilot workshop on HIV disclosure, Jasmine is working on how to tell her loved ones about her HIV status.

Jasmine, on the workshop, “I’ve never been in a group like this. It’s comfortable talking with the other women; I don’t feel judged.

Even Jasmine’s parents do not know she has HIV. She is afraid of how they might react when they find out both she and one of her children have HIV. Currently, they help administer medication to her kindergartner but they don’t know what it’s really for.

As her case manager said, “It’s not easy to build rapport with clients, it takes time. I ask questions and see what the client chooses to share. Some of the issues these women have is bigger than you and me. I’m here to assist.

Jasmine is an example of what a connection to care can do.

Donate to PACPI today so we can continue providing full case management services to Illinois women and infants amid a budget impasse that is withholding more than $750,000 for PACPI services.

PACPI Fall Social!

We admiringly thank all the guests who came out to support PACPI programs and play arcade games at the PACPI Fall Social. Even if you lost all your lives, were eaten, shot down, or terminated, it was a fun time!

Thank you to Emporium Arcade Bar for warmly welcoming PACPI and providing a raffle prize. We also thank our other raffle donors: T. and Eva Powell, Amy’s Candy Bar, Hoosier Mama Pie Company, Piece Pizzeria and Brewery, and Aloha Eats.

Total raised is over $2,400! This is our first bar event and we’re grateful for the community support. PACPI is reaching out to expand our local and regional funding for women and children we serve.Social pic stitch

Raffle Winners are:
Abigail S. – Blackhawks Tickets package
Smith T. – Emporium bonanza
Edwina R. – Wine basket
Daniel J. – Hoosier Mama gift certificate
Sally K. – Amy’s Candy Bar basket