Florida Department of Health to hold HIV testing event in Orlando ahead of National HIV Testing Day

(Photo courtesy LGBT Free Media Collective, from Wikimedia Commons)

ORLANDO | The Florida Department of Health’s Central Florida Latinx HIV Taskforce will host an HIV testing event at the Consulate of Mexico, located at 2550 Technology Dr. in Orlando, on June 22 from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

The event, sponsored by Gilead Sciences, will offer free HIV testing as well as feature live entertainment and activists providing information the importance of knowing their HIV status and steps to access prevention and treatment options.

“Gilead Sciences is proud to sponsor this important National HIV Testing Day event with the Florida Department of Health’s Central Florida Latinx HIV Taskforce,” said Bettina Bauer, vice-president of U.S. HIV Treatment and Prevention at Gilead Sciences. “HIV testing is the only way to know one’s HIV status and a critical tool in helping to end the HIV epidemic for everyone, everywhere, which we are constantly working toward together with the community. We will continue our robust support of community organizations serving those most impacted by HIV to help improve health equity and reduce stigma.”

The event is linked to the country’s National HIV Testing Day, observed each year on June 27 to highlight the importance of HIV testing. This year’s theme, “Level up your self-love: check your status,” emphasizes “valuing yourself, showing yourself compassion and respect, and honoring your health needs with self-love,” according to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. “Knowing your HIV status helps you choose options to stay healthy.”

While great strides have been made in the fight against HIV over the years, there are still many living with HIV that are unaware of their status. According to HIV.gov, approximately 13% of the 1.2 million people living with HIV in the U.S. don’t know they are positive, emphasizing the need for increased testing.

HIV also continues to disproportionately impact gay and bisexual men, making up more than half of all people living with HIV in the U.S. and more than 73% of those living HIV in Orlando. More so, the Hispanic/Latinx community in Central Florida — due to cultural and societal challenges, including language barriers and mistrust of the health care system — is disproportionately impacted with the rate of HIV infections for Hispanic/Latinx men being twice that of white men and for Hispanic/Latinx women being nearly six times that of white women.

“We are committed to helping broaden the level of access and education to HIV prevention and treatment for LGBTQIA+ and Latinx individuals within our community, and HIV testing and education is such an amazing important step,” said Gabriella Rodriguez, QLatinx’s Executive Director, in a statement. “We look forward to seeing everyone this Saturday for testing, information, music, food, and a good time.”

More in Health

See More