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Florida Department of Health Recognizes World AIDS Day

By Florida Department of Health, Office of Communications

November 27, 2013

The Florida Department of Health joins many community partners across the state in recognizing World AIDS Day on Sunday, December 1, 2013. The annual observance provides the opportunity to reflect on progress made in eliminating the disease and caring for those living with HIV/AIDS.

“On World AIDS Day, the Department of Health remains committed to the important work being done to increase life span and improve quality of life for those living with HIV/AIDS,” said Dr. Celeste Philip, Deputy Secretary for Health and Deputy State Health Officer for Children’s Medical Services (CMS).

The Department of Health’s HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis Section has developed one of the nation’s most comprehensive programs for HIV/AIDS surveillance, education, prevention, counseling, testing, care and treatment. Persons can be tested confidentially for HIV throughout the state at county health departments and at local community-based organizations.

In January 2013, the Department eliminated the waiting list for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP)—a waitlist that had reached a high of 4,100 applicants in 2011. ADAP is a state-administered program that provides HIV/AIDS-related medications to low-income HIV-positive individuals living in Florida.

In Florida during 2012, the number of HIV-related deaths decreased by 8% from the previous year and by 79% since the peak in 1995. Since 2007, HIV-related deaths in Florida have continued declining each year.

The Department launched The Faces of HIV campaign in January 2012. The project tells the stories of Florida residents living with HIV and AIDS through captivating portraits, insightful interviews. The mobile art exhibit has been displayed in Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Miami, Jacksonville, Panama City, Daytona Beach, Sarasota, Gainesville and Pensacola. The exhibit has had over 6,000 visitors and will make stops in Gainesville on December 5th, Ocala on December 6th and Lake City on December 7th.

"The Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County remains at the forefront of the fight against HIV/AIDS,” said Lillian Rivera, RN, MSN, PhD, Administrator and Health Officer for the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County. “World AIDS Day reminds us of our shared responsibility with our local partners to increase awareness and improve education.”

In observance of World AIDS Day, the Department will display a 20 foot red ribbon in front of the Historic Capitol Museum in Tallahassee from November 25–December 2. On December 1, you can show your support for people affected by HIV by wearing a red ribbon, the international symbol of HIV awareness and support.

For more information on HIV/AIDS, please contact the Florida AIDS Hotline at 1-(800)- FLA-AIDS or 1-(800)-352-2437, 8 AM–9 PM, Monday through Friday and 10:30 AM—6:30 PM on Saturdays. En Espanol, 1- (800)-545-SIDA. In Creole, 1-(800)- AIDS-101.

Additionally, you can chat online with a certified counselor during hotline hours by visiting http://211bigbend.net/florida-hivaids-hotline.html. All chat sessions are confidential and online users may remain anonymous.

To locate a confidential HIV Counseling, Testing and Referral Site within Florida, please visit www.floridaaids.org. Florida residents can also text their zip code to 447493 for an HIV testing site near them.

And to locate a World AIDS Day event in your area, visit www.wemakethechange.com.

For more information about maintaining good health in Florida, log on to www.floridahealth.gov.

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