According to the Department of Public Health, the number of HIV cases in the Orlando metropolitan area has been steadily rising. The Orlando metropolitan area includes Orlando, Kissimmee and Sanford and is ranked No. 2 for rates of new HIV cases. Miami-Dade County is currently ranked number one.

Health officials are working with a number of agencies to offer free and confidential HIV testing this month during National HIV Testing Day, which takes place June 27th.

In honor of National HIV Testing Day (June 27), and to to raise awareness about the importance of HIV testing and early diagnosis of HIV, Walgreens will be offering FREE rapid HIV testing to the community at different locations over the course of four days.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all individuals 13–64 years old be tested for HIV at least once during their lifetime, and persons at increased risk for HIV infection be tested at least annually. 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 and reduce transmissions of HIV.

June 23:   
Walgreens in Kissimmee: 1111 W. Vine St., Kissimmee 34741 (10am – 4pm) 

June 26: 
Walgreens in Kissimmee: 1111 W. Vine St., Kissimmee 34741 (10am-7pm)

June 27:
Walgreens in Kissimmee: 1111 W. Vine St. Kissimmee 34741 (10am-7pm)

June 28:
• Walgreens in Kissimmee: 395 Cypress Pkwy, Kissimmee 34759 (10am-7pm)
• Walgreens in Kissimmee: 1111 W. Vine St., Kissimmee 34741 (10am-7pm)

The Center, located at 21 W. Monument Avenue in Kissimmee regularly offers HIV and Hepatitis C testing during the following hours:

• HIV and HEP C Testing Hours:
• Monday Noon – 5 pm
• Tuesday Noon – 5
• Wednesday Noon – 8 pm
• Thursday Noon – 5 pm
• Friday Noon – 5pm

The Center’s phone number is 407-201-2544.

HIV-negative individuals are encouraged to reduce the chance of contracting HIV by using prevention strategies. As part of the Florida Department of Health, strategic efforts to eliminate HIV in Florida, the Department offers Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) medication.

PrEP is one of a number of HIV prevention strategies for people who are HIV negative but who also have higher-than-average risk of contracting HIV, including sexually active adults at increased risk of HIV. PrEP is a once-daily pill that can reduce the chance of acquiring HIV in HIV-negative individuals. PrEP should be used in conjunction with other prevention methods like condoms to reduce the chance of infection. According to CDC, taking PrEP daily reduces the chance of getting HIV by more than 90 percent.

For more information call the Florida Health Department in Osceola County at 407.343.3000, or The Center in Kissimmee at 07-201-2544.