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December 02, 2022

Panama City, Fla. – Each year on December 1, World AIDS Day is observed around the
globe, serving as a memorial for those lost to HIV and as an opportunity to make people aware
of enhanced HIV prevention and treatment options. This year’s World AIDS Day theme is
Putting Ourselves to the Test: Achieving Equity to End HIV," which encourages people to
unite globally to eliminate the barriers to HIV testing, prevention, and treatment that are holding
back progress on ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

In honor of World AIDS Day, the Florida Department of Health in Bay County (DOH-Bay) in partnership with BASIC Northwest Florida (BASIC NWFL) and PanCare Health will be
participating in BASIC NWFL’s Annual World AIDS Day Community Event on Friday, December
2 and Saturday December 3 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Callaway Grocery Outlet located at
225 S. Tyndall Parkway, Callaway. This is a free event and is open to everyone.

Florida has made great strides to reduce HIV transmission and continues to work toward
eliminating HIV-related deaths by providing equitable access to HIV prevention and care
services. The rate of HIV deaths among all persons diagnosed with HIV in Florida has declined
by 31% over the last decade, but there is still more progress to be made. In 2021, there were
120,502 people living with HIV in Florida, 4,708 of whom were newly diagnosed. In Bay County,
there were 514 people living with HIV in 2021.

It is important that people know their options when it comes to HIV prevention and treatment.
Medication-based HIV prevention—called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP—and HIV
treatment are both based around antiretroviral therapy. Until recently, these medications were
only available in pill form. Now, HIV prevention and treatment has evolved to include long-acting
injectables. These medications are as effective as daily pills and provide individuals with
additional options. Ensuring every single person has an HIV prevention or treatment option that
works for them is key to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Protect yourself. Get tested. Know your status. Learn what’s next.

Knowing your status is the first step toward effective HIV prevention and treatment. People can
reduce their risk for HIV by using appropriate prevention strategies, such as taking pre-exposure
prophylaxis (PrEP), using protection, and getting tested regularly. Contact a health care provider
to find out if PrEP is recommended for you.

If you test positive for HIV, seeking HIV treatment is critical. Antiretroviral therapy can help
people live longer, healthier lives. People living with HIV who take antiretroviral medication as
prescribed and have an undetectable viral load cannot transmit HIV to their sexual
partners. Both PrEP and HIV treatment medications are now available as pills and long-acting

We have the power to both prevent and treat HIV. Visit the Know Your HIV Status website to
learn about testing options near you or order a free at-home HIV testing kit mailed directly to the
address of your choice. For more information, call 1-800-FLA-AIDS, or 1-800-352-2437; en
español, 1-800-545-SIDA; in Creole, 1-800-AIDS-101.

To learn more about DOH-Bay’s prevention and treatment options or to schedule an
appointment for a no-cost HIV test, call (850) 872-4455 or visit the DOH-Bay webpage.


About the Florida Department of Health

The Department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to
protect, promote, and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state,
county, and community efforts.

Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla or @FLHealthEmerald and on Facebook. For more
information about the Florida Department of Health please visit


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