Local Businesses Help End HIV Through Business Responds to AIDS
Local businesses are invited to participate in Business Responds to AIDS, a partnership between WellFlorida Council and businesses interested in ending HIV/AIDS. Businesses participating in the program provide prevention messages and materials to customers, employees and neighborhoods, and can also serve as a free HIV testing site.
Business Responds to AIDS is a component of WellFlorida’s High Impact Prevention (HIP) program. The program helps to raise community awareness about HIV/AIDS, motivate residents in high prevalence neighborhoods to get tested, increase the number of persons who know their HIV status and link them to services. There is no cost for participating in the program, which is active 16 counties in North Central Florida.
“Businesses can help by motivating customers, students and residents to get tested and increase the number of persons that know their HIV status;” according to Jeffrey Solius, WellFlorida’s HIP program manager. “Sharing HIV prevention messages and materials helps with the fight to end stigma and the prevalence of HIV in the community. Businesses are essential partners in stopping this epidemic.”
The prevalence rate of HIV is 16.3 in Alachua County and 19.1 in Putnam County, compared to the state prevalence rate of 23.4. Individuals most impacted by the virus are people of color and men who have sex with men (MSM).
A broad scope of businesses currently participate in Business Responds to AIDS. Some examples include: Jazzy Cuts, a barbershop in Lake City; University Club, an LGBTQ+ club in Gainesville; Grace Marketplace, a homeless shelter in Gainesville; and Santa Fe College, which serves the region.
“All of these partnerships have had a tremendous impact on the community and their consumers. They each reach different populations and are fighting the same fight, ending the AIDS epidemic,” said Solius.
WellFlorida’s HIP program thanks the following businesses currently participating in Business Responds to AIDS:
Beach Break Salon
Cabana Beach Apartments
Civic Media Center
College of Central Florida
Cone Park Resource Center
Ebona Magic Salon
Fades & Fros
Florida School of Traditional Midwifery
Hair Wonders the Cutting Edge
Hampton Villas Apartments
Helping Hands Clinic
Lake Sumter State College
Love Ed Gainesville
Newberry Community Center
Pride Center of North
Santa Fe College Student Leadership
Suwannee River AHEC
SWAG Family Resource Center
UF LGBT Affairs
Rural Women’s Health Project
Verdant Cove Apartments
Vick’s Supper Club
Business Responds to AIDS is sponsored by the State of Florida, Department of Health and WellFlorida Council (www.wellflorida.org).