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FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH IN LAKE COUNTY ENCOURAGES FLORIDIANS TO TEST YOUR WAY ON NATIONAL HIV TESTING DAY

By Noelda Lopez

June 20, 2019

Contact:
Noelda Lopez, Public Information Specialist
Noelda.Lopez@flhealth.gov
Office: 352-589-6424, After Hours: 352-728-7662

EUSTIS, FL.—The Florida Department of Health in Lake County will be offering free HIV Testing and Hepatitis A vaccines on National HIV Testing Day Thursday, June 27th, 2019 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Walgreens located at 2010 Citrus Blvd, Leesburg Fl, 34748.  This year’s theme is “Doing it My Way” which serves as a reminder that HIV testing has never been more convenient because there are more ways than ever to get tested. 

“This event is an excellent opportunity to get tested and learn your status” said Aaron Kissler, Health Officer of the Florida Department of Health in Lake County. “because protection against this disease starts with knowledge”   

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all individuals 13–64 years old be tested for HIV at least once during their lifetime, and persons at increased risk for HIV infection be tested at least annually.

Florida remains a national leader in HIV testing, with over 1,400 registered HIV test sites (including each county health department and community-based organizations) which provide high-quality, confidential testing services at low or no cost. Last year, more than 340,000 HIV tests were conducted through Florida’s registered HIV test sites. Testing is also available through doctor’s offices and other health care facilities.

With early diagnosis, individuals can begin appropriate treatment and care resulting in better health outcomes. Studies have shown that providing antiretroviral therapy as early as possible after diagnosis improves a patient’s health, reduces transmission, and can eventually lead to undetectable HIV viral loads.

HIV-negative individuals are encouraged to reduce the chance of contracting HIV by using prevention strategies. As part of our strategic efforts to eliminate HIV in Florida, the Department is working to make Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) medication available at no cost at all 67 CHDs by the end of this year. PrEP is a once-daily pill that can reduce the chance of acquiring HIV in HIV-negative individuals. PrEP should be used in conjunction with other prevention methods like condoms to reduce the chance of infection. According to CDC, taking PrEP daily reduces the chance of getting HIV by more than 90 percent.

PrEP is now available, and patients can be provided with up to a 90-day supply of medications. Find a PrEP provider near you with the department’s PrEP Providers List.  You can also locate HIV counseling, testing and referral sites by visiting www.KnowYourHIVStatus.com or texting ‘FLHIV’ to 898211.

For more information, call the Florida HIV/AIDS Hotline at 1-800-FLA-AIDS or 1-800-352-2437; En Español, 1-800-545-SIDA; In Creole, 1-800-AIDS-101. To chat with a live counselor at the Florida HIV/AIDS Hotline, visit www.211bigbend.org/flhivaidshotline

About the Florida Department of Health

The Department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @HealthyFla. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov.