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HIV/AIDS Services & Ministry

                           Help | Hope | Compassion

Services Based on the Value and Dignity of Human Life...

Despite being more than three decades into the pandemic, HIV/AIDS continues to be relegated to the “back burner.” It is no longer a front page story and is often perceived as more of a chronic illness even though more Americans are infected than ever before in the history of the disease. Although there are medications to treat the disease, treatment is not necessarily easy or simple, and, there is no cure. Yes, there are fewer people dying from the disease, but there are more people living with it.

Many remain disconnected from the reality of the pandemic, indifferent and even apathetic about the disease and its issues. The numbers of persons infected and affected remain just numbers to many…often these are not thought of in relation to the individual person, the individual face of the disease which the statistics represent. Many remain ignorant about the facts. We are still fighting the enormous and persistent stigma and discrimination which accompany the disease.

Catholic Charities, in our mission of charity to anyone in need continues to live the Gospel message in working to strengthen and support individuals, families and communities based on the value and dignity of human life.

The late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin in his 1986 pastoral letter, “AIDS: The Challenges and Responsibility,” said that “Our responsibility and challenge is to overcome ignorance and prejudice, to become a community of healing and reconciliation…”

Acknowledging this challenge, these webpages will offer to anyone who is curious and/or interested, up to date information about:

We invite you to browse our pages and consider joining in our efforts at Catholic Charities and in your own parishes and communities as well. 


A Statement from Cardinal Blase J. Cupich:

"HIV/AIDS continues to be a threat to all people and a challenge to those of us called to serve our brothers and sisters.  The pandemic exists on every continent and touches people of all ages, genders, sexual orientations, socioeconomic levels, races and religions.  Despite the best efforts of the world’s scientists, there is still no cure or preventive vaccine.  Ironically, more effective treatments have reduced public concern, contributing to a rise in US cases, especially among 14-25 year olds too young to have witnessed the devastating early days of the epidemic.

In the spirit of Pope Francis, we must reach out to these and all suffering, ministering to both their physical and spiritual needs.  For decades, Catholic Charities has been a key party to the Catholic Ministry to persons of any faith tradition living with HIV/AIDS in the Archdiocese of Chicago, and their families and loved ones.  I ask that you support their efforts and pray for those working to prevent and cure HIV/AIDS and for the caregivers of those living with the disease.  Please also hold the members of our human family throughout the world living with and affected by the disease in your hearts and prayers."

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich
Archbishop of Chicago

A Statement from Kathy Donahue, Acting Administrator, President, and CEO of Catholic Charities:

"Now into its fourth decade, the HIV/AIDS pandemic continues to be a challenge to the human family--globally and locally. The disease is not well understood by the public; many myths persist. In recent years it has rarely made headlines, and so, awareness of the disease has declined, despite efforts to educate the public about the basic facts and the stigma still associated with the diagnosis. Education is the key to understanding the disease, the key to prevention, and is critical to encourage the compassion and healing necessary to combat the prejudice and discrimination which are so demoralizing to persons living with HIV/AIDS (and those affected by it). I urge you to browse our HIV/AIDS Services and Ministry page for more information."

How to Get Help


Community Casework & Counseling: (312) 655-7700

Lake County HIV/AIDS Case Management Services and Food Pantry: (847) 782-4265 (Specifically for clients with HIV/AIDS)

HIV/AIDS Ministry/Liaison: (312) 948-6500

Catholic Charities provides a wide range of services to persons with HIV of AIDS and their families in Cook and Lake* counties. We assure compassion, discretion and confidentiality. Our supportive services can help put together the many pieces of living with HIV/AIDS.
Case Management helps individuals work toward and achieve self-sufficiency by assisting them:

  • To identify needs
  • To connect with community resources including medical, dental and nutritional care, transportation, housing and in-home service
  • To apply for appropriate assistance programs
  • In crisis, with long-term counseling
  • By providing counseling and referrals for job readiness, placement services and job training
  • By advocating for and linking individuals for appropriate services and cutting through red tape

*Note: Lake County also offers Substance Abuse Counseling, Mental Health Counseling and Support Groups, including a group for Spanish speakers, and a food pantry specifically for clients living with HIV/AIDS.

  North/Northwest Regional Office: 1717 Rand Rd., Des Plaines, IL. (847) 376-2100
West Regional Office: 1400 S. Austin, Cicero, IL. (708) 222-1491
South Regional Office: 16100 Seton Dr., South Holland, IL. (708) 333-8379
St. Blase, 7438 W. 61st, Summit, IL. (708) 563-2407
Casa Catalina Basic Human Needs Center, 4537 S. Ashland Avenue, Chicago, IL. (773) 376-9425

HIV/AIDS Task Force

Empowered by the teachings of Jesus Christ and the tradition of the Catholic Church, the HIV/AIDS Task Force is committed to providing and inspiring leadership and direction in the ministry to persons living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

We strive to fulfill this mission through activities which engage individuals and communities to:

  • Insure compassionate, competent service to all persons affected by HIV/AIDS;
  • Manifest our solidarity with those who are affected;
  • Increase and sustain awareness of the pandemic;
  • Help to reduce the spread of the disease through education and prevention;
  • Call upon all Catholic parishes, social service agencies, health care and educational institutions to provide an environment of hope, healing, and compassion for all who are affected by HIV/AIDS.

Convened in 1986 by the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, the Task Force continues to be vital to the core of the HIV/AIDS Ministry. Since first formed, the Task Force and its membership have evolved as has the face of the pandemic, and the members continue their commitment to providing leadership and direction in the ministry to persons infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

Some of the efforts and activities of the Task Force include:

  • Development, production and distribution of an HIV/AIDS education and outreach DVD, The HIV/AIDS Pandemic and the Christian Response*, sent to all parishes in the Archdiocese; *both the English and Spanish versions are available on the Catholic Charities web site;
  • Collaboration with the Archdiocesan Office of Catholic Schools on the HIV/AIDS Curriculum Guide K-12 and the recent integrated Health/HIV/AIDS Curricula;
  • Offering free and confidential, on site HIV/AIDS counseling and screening at our Catholic Charities health fairs;
  • Offering HIV/AIDS education/outreach presentations to varied groups;
  • Developing and disseminating current educational literature consistent with Catholic social teaching.
  • Participation in World AIDS Day events and celebrations;
  • Participation in the annual AFC AIDS Walk/Run;

The current members of the Task Force, who represent a variety of advocacies include:

  • Jorge Cabrera, Deacon, St. John Berchmans Parish.
  • Rita Kattner, D Min.
  • Dan Lunney, MTS, NACC, Franciscan Health Systems, (Advisor)
  • Maureen Murphy, LCSW, Catholic Charities
  • Donna Oborski, BSN, RN, FNC, Advocate Health Care Parish Nurse Ministry
  • Paul O’Keefe, M.D., Loyola University Medical Center, Department of Medicine—Retired
  • LaTeasha Ward, MPA, Archdiocesan Office for Catholic Schools
  • Rev.Patrick J. Lee, Pastor, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Chicago
  • Robert Morris, B.S., Deacon, St. Gabriel Parish
  • Ray Sousa, MAPC
  • Patricia M. Drott, MS, BSN, RN, Catholic Charities
  • Korrey Koistra, M.P.H., CEO Alexian Brothers Housing and Health Alliance
  • Mauro Piñeda, Archdiocesan Office of Human Dignity and Solidarity

1. Medical Issues: Paul O’Keefe, M.D.
2. Medical Issues and Latina Medical Issues: Patricia Herrera, M.D.
3. Persons Living with HIV/AIDS: Alexian Brothers Housing and Health Alliance
4. HIV/AIDS Education, Issues and the Christian Response: Patricia M. Drott, M.S., R.N.

PLEASE CALL 312-948-6500 for information regarding the Speaker's Bureau.

Program Services Advisory Committee

  Another equally important aspect of the HIV/AIDS Services is the HIV/AIDS Program Services Advisory Committee which is composed of consumers living with HIV/AIDS and their Catholic Charities case managers and chaired by a member of the Catholic Charities Board of Directors. This group works together as partners to identify any service area issues, to resolve these and improve service to our consumers. The perspective and continuing input of our consumers is critical to our program planning, implementation and evaluation. Several of the many successful activities of this group include participation in the planning and implementation of the annual Catholic Charities World AIDS Day celebrations, the annual AFC Walk/Run and celebrations/observances.

Learn More



These are all Myths/Misconceptions, and all of these are untrue.
  • HIV/AIDS is now under control.
  • People who are HIV+ but look and feel healthy cannot spread the virus.
  • HIV/AIDS is really a gay disease.
  • You can get HIV/AIDS by donating blood.
  • You can get HIV/AIDS from being bitten by a mosquito.
  • You can get HIV/AIDS from casual, everyday contact like touching, hugging, kissing* an HIV+ person or from using the same dishes, water fountain, swimming pool or toilet or sharing the same house or room or studying, working with or eating food prepared by an HIV+ person.
    *(Deep kissing may present a risk for HIV transmission from a person who is infected if there are open sores or lesions in the mouth).
  • You can get HIV/AIDS when an HIV+ person coughs or sneezes at you or from their tears, saliva, urine or sweat.
  • HIV/AIDS cannot be spread from an HIV+ mother to her baby before, during or after birth.
  • The new drug therapies can cure HIV/AIDS if they are started early.
  • About one-half of all new HIV infections occur among persons in their mid to upper twenties.
Know the Facts: Be informed and inform others!
  • Even if they look and feel healthy, persons infected with HIV can spread the virus to others.  Even if the person is asymptomatic, the virus is actively multiplying.  More than 1/4th of persons infected with HIV in the United States DO NOT KNOW THAT THEY ARE INFECTED.
  • HIV/AIDS affects all of us: the young and old; men and women; homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, transgendered; people of every educational, social and economic background; people of all races and religions.
  • Needles are used only once, so there is no chance of passing HIV from person to person when donating blood or having a blood test.
  • There is no evidence that HIV is spread through the bite of any insect.
  • HIV/AIDS is NOT spread through casual, everyday activities or contact.  HIV is not able to reproduce itself outside its’ living host, except under laboratory conditions, and therefore, it does not spread or is not infectious outside its’ host.  It is spread through RISKY BEHAVIORS.
  • HIV is NOT spread through the air.  Scientists have found NO evidence that HIV is spread through sweat, tears, urine or feces.  Research studies of HIV+ persons found NO evidence that HIV is spread through saliva by kissing.  ** However, it is not known whether so-called “deep” kissing involving large amounts of saliva increases the risk of infection.
  • HIV/AIDS CAN be spread from an HIV+ mother to her baby before, during and after birth.  However, if tested early in the pregnancy, early treatment can reduce the risk of transmission by nearly 50%.  If pregnant women are treated and deliver by cesarean section, the chances of the baby being infected can be reduced to a rate of 1%!
  • The new drug treatments CANNOT CURE HIV/AIDS, but they can, if started early, greatly improve the health of many people with HIV/AIDS.  The drug treatments are a major factor in significantly reducing the number of deaths from AIDS in this country.
  • Of all new infections in this country, most are estimated to occur among young people who are 13 to 24 years of age.

Chicago Department of Public Health: (312) 747-8900

Cook County Department of Public Health:
Southwest Suburbs: (708) 974-6160
South Suburbs: (708) 232-4500
The Core Center Stroger Hospital, (312) 572-4680

Lake County Department of Health: (847) 377-8450


St. Anthony Messenger Essay by Fr. Ken Overberg : AIDS And The Consistent Ethic Of Life