Florida: Event to Offer Free HIV/AIDS Testing
February 15, 2006
On Saturday, the Winter Health and Sports Fair will offer free, confidential HIV testing using a mouth swab, with results in 20 minutes. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Palmetto Boys and Girls Club.
Sponsored by the local health department and HIV/AIDS advocates, the event will mark Manatee County's commemoration of Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. While most of the country marked that day on Feb. 7, Manatee officials decided to stage the event on a weekend when no other health fairs were scheduled.
CDC estimates that one out of every 266 people in Manatee County has HIV/AIDS. The rate for blacks is one out of every 41 people, according to Tom Miller of the county health department's HIV outreach clinic. "While HIV/AIDS is not a black disease, blacks are infected at a disproportionately high rate," Miller said.
A recent CDC study of 33 states using confidential, name-based HIV/AIDS reporting showed that blacks accounted for 51 percent of HIV/AIDS diagnoses from 2001 to 2004. Blacks represent 12.3 percent of the U.S. population.
CDC reported that for males and females, blacks represented the largest percentage of HIV/AIDS diagnoses in every age group. Black Americans accounted for 44 percent of newly diagnosed cases among males and 68 percent of cases among females.
Miller urged stronger leadership on testing to combat the epidemic. "These infections are occurring and they are a threat," Miller said. "The only way to prevent the spread is to get tested, which many people don't want to do."
Palmetto Boys and Girls Club is at 1600 10th St W., Palmetto.
02.15.06; Donna Wright
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This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.