OCALA, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health in Marion County will mark National HIV Testing Day by offering free HIV tests at three Marion County locations on Thursday, June 27. Free HIV testing will be available at the following times and locations:
8 a.m.–5 p.m. at the Florida Department of Health in Marion County, 1801 SE 32nd Ave., Ocala.
8 a.m.–4 p.m. at Parkside Garden Apartments Community Center, 621 NW 2nd St., Ocala.
10 a.m.–2 p.m. at Ramah Missionary Baptist Church, 10545 SE 58th Ave., Belleview.
The Health Department and Parkside locations will offer the rapid HIV test, which provides results in 15 minutes from a finger-prick blood sample. Ramah Church is offering an oral HIV test that provides results in two weeks.
In addition to the June 27 event, the Health Department offers HIV testing from 8 a.m.–4 p.m. weekdays at their Ocala facility. Further information is available from the Health Department at 352-629-0137, ext. 2061.
Nearly one in five people living with HIV don’t know they have it according to Barbara Rahiem, supervisor of the Department’s HIV/AIDS program.
“With testing, people with HIV can get treatment so they can live longer, healthier lives. Testing and treatment can also reduce the chances of passing HIV on to someone else,” Rahiem reports.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1.1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV. Nearly 4,000 new cases of HIV were reported in Florida last year. In Marion County, 41 were reported.