Central Florida locations offer free HIV testing


In honor of National HIV Testing Day on June 27, several locations in Central Florida will be offering free and confidential HIV tests starting Tuesday.

About one in seven people in the United States who have HIV don't know they are HIV positive, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC recommends everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 to get tested for HIV at least once as part of their health care routine.

The Florida Department of Health in Orange County says the state has more than 1,400 registered HIV test sites that provide high-quality, confidential testing services at low or no cost. In 2017, more than 340,000 HIV tests were conducted through Florida’s registered HIV test sites.

"HIV testing for all adolescents and adults is a national best evidence based guideline," said Dr. Kevin Sherin, director of the Department of Health Orange County office, in a statement. "It is imperative for the prevention of HIV that our community offers widespread HIV testing to all."

With an early diagnoses, people who test positive for HIV can start medical treatment to stay healthy and greatly reduce the chances of transmitting HIV. For people who don't have HIV but remain at high risk for the virus, the Florida Department of Health is offering the HIV prevention drug for free. When taken daily, the medicine can reduce the risk of HIV infection in people by up to 92 percent, according to the CDC.

Free and confidential HIV tests will be offered for free from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day at the following locations in Central Florida:

Tuesday, June 26
- Walgreens, 2420 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando
- Walgreens, 920 S. Kirkman Road, Orlando
- Walgreens, 1111 W. Vine St. Kissimmee
- Walgreens, 2550 N. Hiawassee Road, Orlando (from noon to 5 p.m.)

Wednesday, June 27
- Walgreens, 5185 North Lane, Orlando
- Walgreens, 1111 W. Vine St., Kissimmee
- Walgreens, 13502 State Road 535, Orlando
- Walgreens, 920 S. Kirkman Road, Orlando
- Walgreens, 2501 S. French Ave., Sanford
- Walgreens, 2274 Fortune Road, Kissimmee
- Walgreens, 35800 Highway 27, Haines City

Thursday, June 28
- Walgreens, 1303 S. Semoran Blvd., Orlando
- Walgreens, 1111 W. Vine St., Kissimmee
- Walgreens, 5185 North Lane, Orlando

Saturday, June 30

- Sedano’s Supermarket, 5660 Curry Ford Road, Orlando (from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

Other Central Florida locations that offer regular testing include the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, Miracle of Love, the LGBT+ Center, Orlando Immunology Center, Bliss CARES and Hope and Help Center of Central Florida.

Find HIV counseling, testing and referral sites by visiting KnowYourHIVStatus.com or texting "FLHIV" to 898211.

You can also call the Florida HIV/AIDS Hotline at 1-800-FLA-AIDS or 1-800-352-2437. To access the hotline in Spanish, call 1-800-545-SIDA; in Creole, 1-800-AIDS-101. You can also chat with a live counselor online by visiting 211bigbend.org/flhivaidshotline.

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