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National News

South Floridians Turn Out to Be Tested for HIV

June 30, 2003

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle, Commissioner Dean Trantalis and Broward County Mayor Diana Wasserman-Rubin joined hundreds of South Floridians who got tested for HIV on Friday as part of a nationwide effort to make sure people who have the virus can take advantage of treatments that can prolong their lives. "Anytime there's an opportunity to let people know that HIV is not a death sentence and that they should get tested, it's important," Wasserman-Rubin said. "Broward County is second only to Miami-Dade [in the rate of AIDS cases] in the country. That's alarming. We have to do a better job."

HIV tests were offered at 38 Broward sites and 25 sites in Palm Beach County. "I think turnouts have been fairly good, higher than last year, and we had a lot more calls than last year," said Lou Reiter, early intervention consultant with the Palm Beach County Health Department. Deborah Burress, an HIV counselor at the Drug Abuse Foundation in Delray Beach, said the morning started out slowly, but by midafternoon business had picked up. "I've probably had about 10 people so far, and on a normal day we might see two or three," Burress said.

In central Broward, more than 100 people had come for testing at Delevoe Park by early afternoon, said Henry Lumpkins, community outreach coordinator for the North Broward Hospital District's Comprehensive Care Center. "We had quite a few teenagers 16 to 19, and that's a very positive thing," he said. "We've been stressing to the kids how to protect themselves from [HIV]."

Tom Liberti, chief of the Florida Department of Health's Bureau of HIV/AIDS, opened testing day activities in Miami-Dade. He said the state soon will offer a rapid HIV test that requires a finger-prick blood specimen and gives accurate results within about 20 minutes. "The goal of rapid testing is to encourage people to learn their status, so they can be linked to proper medical and support services," Liberti said.

Back to other CDC news for June 30, 2003

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
06.28.03; Nancy McVicar


  
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 
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Quiz: Are You at Risk for HIV?
10 Common Fears About HIV Transmission
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