This press release is published at the request of the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County.
Each year on December 1, World AIDS Day is observed around the globe, serving as a memorial for those lost to HIV and as an opportunity to make people aware of enhanced HIV prevention and treatment options. This year's World AIDS Day theme is "Putting Ourselves to the Test: Achieving Equity to End HIV," which encourages people to unite globally to eliminate the barriers to HIV testing, prevention, and treatment that are holding back progress on ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
In honor of World AIDS Day, the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County DOH-Alachua is hosting a Community Block Party on December 3, 2022, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., at Pine Meadows Apartments (2626 East University Avenue, Gainesville).
Florida has made great strides to reduce HIV transmission and continues to work towards eliminating HIV-related deaths by providing equitable access to HIV prevention and care services. The rate of HIV deaths among all persons diagnosed with HIV in Florida has declined by 31% over the last decade, but more progress is still needed. In 2021, 120,502 people were living with HIV in Florida, 4,708 of whom were newly diagnosed. In 2021, 1,055 people were living with HIV in Alachua County.
"Routine testing for HIV is key," said Paul Myers, Administrator, DOH-Alachua. "The Florida Department of Health in Alachua County offers free and confidential HIV testing as well as other services to assist clients in getting linked to care. By knowing your status, you can take control of your health."
It is important that people know their options when it comes to HIV prevention and treatment. Medication-based HIV prevention—called pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP—and HIV treatment are both based on antiretroviral therapy. Until recently, these medications were only available in pill form. Now, HIV prevention and treatment have evolved to include long-acting injectables. These medications are as effective as daily pills and provide individuals with additional options. Ensuring everyone has an HIV prevention or treatment option that works for them is key to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Protect yourself. Get tested. Know your status. Learn what's next.
Knowing your status is the first step toward effective HIV prevention and treatment. People can reduce their risk for HIV by using appropriate prevention strategies, such as taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), using protection, and getting tested regularly. Contact a healthcare provider to find out if PrEP is recommended for you.
If you test positive for HIV, seeking HIV treatment is critical. Antiretroviral therapy can help people live longer, healthier lives. People living with HIV who take antiretroviral medication as prescribed and have an undetectable viral load cannot transmit HIV to their sexual partners. Both PrEP and HIV treatment medications are now available as pills and long-acting injectables.
We have the power to both prevent and treat HIV. Visit the Know Your HIV Status website
to learn about testing options near you or order a free at-home HIV testing kit mailed directly to the address of your choice. For more information, call 1-800-FLA-AIDS, or 1-800-352-2437; en español, 1-800-545-SIDA; in Creole, 1-800-AIDS-101.
To learn more about DOH-Alachua County's prevention and treatment options or to schedule an appointment for a no-cost HIV test, call 352-334-7960 or visit the DOH-Alachua County webpage