New Wheaton Housing Gives AIDS Patients Independence

Article excerpt

Byline: Mike Burke Daily Herald Staff Writer

Little-known facts about AIDS

- There are an estimated 1,500 DuPage County residents living with the virus that causes AIDS, most of whom have never been tested and do not know their HIV status.

- African Americans and Latinos represent 6 percent of the population in DuPage County, but comprise 16 percent of the known AIDS cases.

- Women now represent 9 percent of the reported AIDS cases in DuPage County. This is a 6 percent increase from five years ago.

- In 1994, the number of DuPage County residents between the ages of 20 and 29 who developed AIDS increased 75 percent over the previous year. Many of these people were infected with HIV as teenagers. Most individuals do not develop AIDS for an average of 10 years after getting the virus.

- Reported AIDS cases attributed to heterosexual transmission have increased 10 percent in the last 5 years.

- AIDS is the leading killer of people age 25 to 44 in the United States.

Source: DuPage County Health Department

AIDS cases by the numbers

Below are the total number of AIDS cases reported by county from 1981 to Oct. 31 of this year.

County Cases Cases per 100,000 people

*Cook 1,788 77.02

Chicago

   only      12,915      463.95
   DuPage   335      42.73
   Kane      264      83.16
   Lake      323      62.55
   McHenry   54      29.47
   Will      251      70.25
   *Numbers do not include the city of Chicago.
   Source: Illinois Department of Public Health

Matthew Wycislak, a 43-year-old graphic designer living in Wood Dale, has been through a number of hardships since finding out he had AIDS two years ago.

He lost his job, was evicted from his Chicago apartment, and eventually had to ask for food stamps and Social Security benefits.

After living for a time in the basement of his brother's Elmhurst home, he recently moved back in with his parents.

"It's not exactly like this, but it feels like, in some ways, I'm just a kid again, living with mom and dad," Wycislak said. "Although they haven't said anything about cleaning up my room, it's not the same (as having my own place)."

But Wycislak's housing worries soon will be over. He will have a place to call his own again next month when he moves into Canticle Place, a 12-unit apartment building near Wheaton for people living with AIDS.

Canticle Place was built by the Wheaton Franciscan Sisters on their 60-acre campus on Roosevelt Road. …