Ocala, Florida —The Florida Department of Health in Marion County and the College of Central Florida are offering free rapid HIV tests Dec. 1 in support of World AIDS Day.
Free rapid HIV testing will be available at three locations:
- College of Central Florida Hampton Center 1501 W. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala, Room 105, 2–4 p.m.
- College of Central Florida Main Campus, 3001 SW College Road, Ocala, Building 19, Health Sciences, 2–4 p.m.
- Department of Health Ocala facility, 1801 SE 32nd Ave., Ocala, 8–4 p.m.
The Time to Act is Now is the 2015 theme for World AIDS Day, a global initiative to encourage countries and communities to take a stand against HIV and AIDS.
“One of the most important ways to prevent the spread of HIV is to get tested and know your status,” said Erin Hess, health officer for the Florida Department of Health in Marion County. “New treatments, medications and support mean longer, healthier lives for people with HIV.”
“The College of Central Florida is pleased to partner with the Department of Health to offer this critical community outreach,” said Dr. Mark Paugh, College of Central Florida vice president of Academic Affairs. “By providing the free testing and educational resources, we can work together to raise awareness about the impact of HIV and its prevention.”
In Florida, more than 1,900 new AIDS cases have been diagnosed so far in 2015, and there are 113,000 adults in Florida living with HIV/AIDS. Marion County is not immune to the epidemic, with more than 1,000 adults living with HIV/AIDS.
During the Dec. 1 free testing events, the health department will use a rapid test that uses a small blood sample from a finger prick and provides results in 15 minutes. All tests are free and results are confidential.
Other HIV testing is also available free of charge, using a mouth swab or larger blood samples. For information on HIV testing call the department at 352-629-0137, ext. 2061.