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

June 27, 2018

Miami, Fla.—The Florida Department of Health (Department) in Miami-Dade County recognizes June 27 as National HIV Testing Day. This year’s theme is “Test Your Way. Do It Today,” which serves as a reminder that HIV testing has never been more convenient because there are more ways than ever to get tested.

“Knowing your status is the first step towards taking control of your health.  We encourage individuals to get tested. Early access to HIV care prevents serious damage to a patient’s immune system and allows patients to live much longer, healthier lives,” said Lillian Rivera, RN, MSN, PhD, Administrator/Health Officer of the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County.

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.

In commemoration of National HIV Testing Day, the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County will host a free community event in collaboration with community partners.

Event: Testing at Walgreens- HIV, STD and Hepatitis C Testing

Date: Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Time: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Location: Walgreens - 1695 NW 20th Street (20th St & 17th Ave), Miami 33142

 

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 will be made available through CHD Sexually Transmitted Disease and Family Planning Clinics and patients can be provided with up to a 90-day supply of medications. Some CHDs may offer PrEP through a specialty clinic. Find a PrEP provider near you with the department’s PrEP Providers List.

You can 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

In Miami-Dade County, you may visit www.TESTMiami.org or call 305-643-7420.

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