Marion County — The Florida Department of Health in Marion County will be offering free rapid HIV testing on National HIV Testing Day, Thursday, June 27, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Walgreen’s, located at 807 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala.
Individuals who take the test at this location will receive their results in just 15 minutes. As a bonus, the Walgreen’s location where testing is being provided is offering 15 percent off of purchases for anyone tested for HIV during the event.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all individuals ages 13 to 64 be tested for HIV at least once during their lifetime and that persons at increased risk for HIV infection be tested at least annually.
“By knowing your HIV status, you have the power to take care of your health,” said Florida Department of Health in Marion County Administrator Mark Lander. “If you test positive, we have resources to get you into care and on medications that help control your health and reduce the risk of it transmitting to others.”
Florida remains a national leader in HIV testing, with more than 1,400 registered HIV test sites (including each county health department and community-based organizations), which provide high-quality, confidential testing services at low or no cost. Testing is also available through doctors’ offices and other health care facilities.
With early diagnosis, individuals can begin appropriate treatment and care, resulting in better health outcomes. Studies have shown that providing antiretroviral therapy as early as possible after diagnosis improves a patient’s health, reduces transmission, and with continued antiretroviral therapy, can eventually lead to undetectable HIV viral loads.
You can locate HIV counseling, testing, and referral sites by texting ‘FLHIV’ to 898211 or visiting www.KnowYourHIVStatus.com.
For more information, call the Florida HIV/AIDS Hotline at 1-800-FLA-AIDS or 1-800-352-2437.