HIV/AIDS is a life-threatening disease that attacks the body's immune system and leaves a person vulnerable to opportunistic infections. Because there is no cure, reducing the transmission of HIV while minimizing its effect on those living with HIV, is critical.
This year’s theme for National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is “HIV Prevention Starts with Me”. NWGAAD is observed annually on March 10th to shed light on the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls.
- The HIV case rate per 100,000 population increased slightly from 23.8 per 100,000 (2016) to 24.1 per 100,000 (2017)
- Rates among Blacks decreased from 64.5 per 100,000 (2016) to 64.1 per 100,000 (2017)
- Rates among Hispanics also decreased from 31.3 (2016) to 29.9 (2017) per 100,000
The Florida Department of Health has identified reducing transmission of HIV as one of its seven priority goals.
To achieve this goal, Florida has adopted a comprehensive strategic approach to prevent HIV transmission and strengthen patient care activities which will greatly reduce the risk of further transmission of HIV from those diagnosed and living with HIV.
Florida’s Plan to Eliminate HIV Transmission and Reduce HIV-related Deaths
Four Key Components
- Implement routine HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) screening in health care settings and priority testing in non-health care settings
- Provide rapid access to treatment and ensure retention in care (Test and Treat)
- Improve and promote access to antiretroviral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and non-occupational post-exposure prophylaxis (nPEP)
- Increase HIV awareness and community response through outreach, engagement, and messaging
Below is a summary of each of the components and access to resources to help you.
Everyone between the ages of 13–64 should have an HIV test in their lifetime. Those with ongoing risks should be tested more frequently by their healthcare provider, as should pregnant women, who should be tested in their first and third trimester.
Talk with your healthcare provider or locate a testing site near you by visiting: KnowYourHIVStatus.com
Are you working in a healthcare setting? Recent changes in Florida law do not require separate, informed consent for HIV testing in a healthcare setting.
Learn more through the Model Protocol for HIV Counseling Testing in Health Care Settings available in our Counseling & Testing Resources
Are you providing HIV testing in a non-clinical setting? Florida law requires separate informed consent for non-clinical settings.
Learn more through the Model Protocol for HIV Counseling Testing in Non-Health Care Settings available in our Counseling & Testing Resources
In January 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services updated the HIV Treatment Guidelines to recommend that antiretroviral therapy be initiated as soon as possible, regardless of CD4 T-cell count or HIV viral load.
Several research studies have now proven that persons living with HIV who stay in care and takes antiretroviral medications every day to suppress HIV (viral load suppression, <200 copies/mL), have effectively no risk of transmitting the virus to an HIV-negative partner.
Test & Treat is a program where the following occurs for a newly diagnosed individual or a person returning to care:
- Immediate linkage to a clinician who can provide the following in a culturally-appropriate manner:
- Access to antiretroviral medications
- Medical assessments
- Education on what HIV is and how one can manage HIV and live healthy
- Linkage to an agency that can provide case management to assist the individual with accessing available resources in the community
Patient Care Resources
Are you living with HIV? Are you a healthcare provider who provides care to persons living with HIV? Florida has resources available to help you!!
Learn more about continued access to medication through the AIDS Drug Assistance Program
Learn more about HIV and medical or support services resources in your area:
Contact the Florida AIDS Hotline
In English: 1-800-FLA-AIDS or 1-800-352-2437.
En Espanol, 1-800-545-SIDA.
In Creole, 1-800-AIDS-101
Learn more about Florida’s resources related to housing: Housing Opportunities for Persons with HIV/AIDS Program
Learn more about HIV and Living Well with HIV
PrEP and nPEP are both part of a comprehensive HIV prevention strategy which involve the use of antiretroviral medications to reduce the risk of HIV transmission to HIV-negative individuals.
PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) involves the daily use of antiretroviral medications to reduce the risk of HIV transmission to HIV-negative individuals. In July 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Truvada (TDF/FTC) for use as PrEP for HIV prevention in sexually active HIV–negative individuals. PrEP is used in conjunction with other prevention methods to reduce HIV transmissions.
nPEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis) Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) involves taking antiretroviral medications as soon as possible after a potential exposure to HIV to reduce the likelihood of HIV transmissions. There are two types of PEP: 1) occupational PEP, or an exposure that happens in the workplace (such as a needle stick in a healthcare setting), and 2) non-occupational PEP (nPEP), or when someone is potentially exposed to HIV through sexual intercourse or injection drug use.
∗To be effective, PEP must begin prior to 72 hours after exposure and consists of 2-3 antiretroviral medications that must be taken for 28 days. A physician must determine what treatment is appropriate based on the nature of the exposure. Starting PEP after a potential exposure does not guarantee that someone exposed to HIV will not be diagnosed with HIV.
Learn more about Florida’s PrEP and nPEP resources: PrEP / nPEP | Florida Department of Health
Knowledge and understanding of HIV, prevention strategies, and available resources to live healthy are critical to reducing HIV in Florida. Approximately 15 Floridians are diagnosed with HIV every day.
The Florida Department of Health offers numerous HIV prevention strategies to benefit the health of Florida’s communities. Learn more and join our growing network of grassroots HIV educators: Know Your HIV Status Initiatives
Florida has two AIDS Education and Training Centers (AETC) which provide comprehensive resources for health care providers in the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS:
More than three decades after the first HIV diagnoses were made, stigma remains a barrier to addressing HIV in the U.S.
Learn more about HIV-related stigma and how to address it in your community: CDC-Campaign-Lets-Stop-HIV-Together