World AIDS Day
On December 1, World AIDS Day, we recognize the fact that more than 1 million Americans have HIV, and about 1 in 7 of them don’t know it. According to HIV.gov, southern states bear the greatest burden of HIV, accounting for half of the new infections recorded in 2014. In 2016 alone, nearly 5,000 Floridians were diagnosed with HIV, with about 78% of those cases involving men and 22% involving women. HIV disproportionately affects MSM (men who have sex with men) as well as people of color, especially black and hispanic Americans.
WellFlorida is working hard to improve those statistics throughout North Central Florida. Free and confidential HIV-testing events raise awareness while letting people know if they’re infected or not. Between Nov. 28 and Dec. 1, in honor of World AIDS Day, WellFlorida’s High Impact Prevention (HIP) project will be reaching out to students and homeless people in Gainesville and Ocala by offering testing events at the University of Florida, Santa Fe College, the College of Central Florida and Grace Marketplace.
WellFlorida’s High Impact Prevention (HIP) project — which includes the Everyone’s Doing It, It’s Everyone’s Business and the ARTAS campaigns — aims to decrease the spread of HIV in North Central Florida while linking those who are already infected to care services in their area. By holding at least 12 free HIV-testing events per month in counties throughout North Central Florida, HIP seeks to serve the populations facing the highest risk factors for HIV transmission. During the testing events, HIV prevention counselors and volunteers provide information, answer questions and distribute condoms and promotional items.
ARTAS, which stands for Anti-Retroviral Treatment and Access to Services, is a CDC-recommended, evidence-based program within the HIP project that serves those who are either newly diagnosed with HIV or who are HIV positive and haven’t received medical care for six months or more. WellFlorida has successfully linked more than 85% of clients to HIV-related services.
Please visit everyonestopaidsnow.org to see a list of testing events and sites throughout the year and to learn more about HIP’s efforts in stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS.
HIP HIV testing location and dates for World AIDS Day in Gainesville and Ocala:
Nov. 28, 2017: Grace Marketplace
3055 NE 28th Ave, Gainesville, FL 32609
8:00AM – 12:00PM
Nov. 29. 2017: Pugh Hall, “Don’t Stress the Test HIV/AIDS”
296 Buckman Drive, Gainesville, FL 32611
5:00PM – 8:30 PM
Nov. 30, 2017: Santa Fe College
3000 NW 83 St, Gainesville, FL 32606
10:00AM – 2:00PM
Dec. 1, 2017: College of Central Florida
3001 SW College Rd, Ocala, FL 34474
12:00PM – 3:00PM
Over the past 20 years, WellFlorida has disbursed more than $45 million to federally funded HIV programs in the region. Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program helps clients maintain stable, healthy housing by providing short term housing assistance such as rent, mortgage and utility payments. The North Central Florida Ryan White CARE Program provides ambulatory and outpatient HIV care as well as medical case management, medications and specialty care services. Learn more about these programs on the WellFlorida website at www.WellFlorida.org.