Florida Dept. of Health recognizes World AIDS Day

Florida Dept. of Health recognizes World Aids Day
Florida Dept. of Health recognizes World Aids Day(WCTV)
Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 5:35 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Wednesday is World Aids Day.

This year marks four decades since the first cases of the disease were reported.

The Florida Department of Health held an event in Tallahassee Wednesday to recognize the lives lost to this disease and provide the community with educational resources.

Florida’s Lieutenant Governor and Surgeon General both spoke at Wednesday’s event. They said that although much progress has been made to treat and prevent AIDS in the last 40 years, that work isn’t over.

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo said about 117,000 Floridians are HIV positive and that the disease disproportionately impacts people of color.

One of Ladapo’s priorities is to increase access to preventative HIV treatments like pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP.

“Pre-exposure prophylaxis is underused everywhere in this country, and really highly effective. So, you know, there are challenges with access and challenges with stigma, but it’s really important that people have access to this.”

Ladapo said another key initiative is getting more people tested for HIV. There are now self-test kits available, which he hopes will reduce barriers for some people.

HIV is particularly prevalent in Florida, with the third highest HIV infection rate in the nation. In 2019, the state reported more than 4,000 new infections.

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