Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Florida News

HIV Fading as a Health Threat
Infection Continues in FL 

TAMPA, FL - HIV continues to be a public health threat in Florida, particularly in the southern part of the state in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Wednesday is HIV National Testing Day, and health officials are reminding people of the importance of making an HIV test part of their routine health screenings.

Carl Schmid, Deputy Executive Director of the AIDS Institute, explains the advantage of early screening.

Links of interest:
• Aids Institute
CDC - Center for Disease Control and Prevention

"Frequently people find out they have HIV when they become sick. That's really too late. It's much better to get tested earlier, before you develop symptoms.

" Florida ranks second in the nation for the rate of HIV diagnosis, according to the CDC.

Schmid says using protection is still the best option because, while there are more drugs available to help fight the disease, there is still no cure.

"It's a misconception that it's easy. Yes, it's manageable, but why would you want to live with a disease that could be prevented in the first place."

Florida covers "medically necessary" HIV testing under Medicaid. Beginning next year, states will receive additional funding from the federal government for coverage of preventive services like HIV testing. There are multiple sites in Florida offering free HIV tests on Wednesday and throughout the year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about one million people in the U.S. are infected with HIV, and they estimate about 20 percent are unaware of their conditions. 

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