It was announced on July 6 that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has named Brent Adams—who is openly gay and HIV positive—as the Acting Secretary of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). Adams’s appointment makes him the state’s first openly HIV-positive cabinet member.

“Time and time again, Governor Quinn has demonstrated his commitment to progressive values, and I’m honored to play a role in promoting his vision of a state that strives to project and promote equality of life for all people, including persons living with HIV,” Adams, 36, told POZ. He was diagnosed with HIV in 1999. “I think it’s an encouraging step forward for all of us.”

With IDFPR, Adams has chaired the Mortgage Fraud Task Force, coordinated the Mortgage Relief Project, and drafted legislation to advocate on behalf of state consumers. He has previously served as policy associate for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, a premier AIDS service organization in the state, and he was policy director for Citizen Action/Illinois, the state’s largest public interest organization that fights for social and economic justice.