With so much misinformation regarding HIV-AIDS being circulated, the Florida Department of Health in Polk County wants you to know the facts. See below to get the truth about regarding HIV-AIDS, what services we provide and what you can do to remain safe.
The facts about FDOH-Polk’s approach:
FDOH-Polk is working with all other health departments in the state to eliminate HIV transmission and reduce HIV-related deaths. Our four-pronged approach is:
- Test and Treat – we are working to get clients into treatment within the first few days after finding out they are HIV +
- We are working with other health care providers to provide Pre and Post Exposure medical treatment to drastically reduce the spread of HIV.
- We are working with health care providers to promote testing in all health care settings and with community based organizations to promote targeted testing within our community.
- We are reaching out to the community with educating, counseling, and messaging the public with information that they can trust.
FDOH-Polk offers the following services: HIV/STD testing is offered at all of our clinics using a sliding fee scale. HIV/AIDS comprehensive clinical care is offered at our Bartow Specialty Care Clinic. We provide services to all Ryan White eligible patients in Polk, Highlands, and Hardee counties.
We provide training and education through our HIV Outreach and Education Team. For more information call: Keith Boyd 863-519-8233 ext. 2248.
The facts about PREP/PEP:
What is PREP? It is a comprehensive HIV prevention strategy that involves the daily use of antiretroviral medications to reduce the risk of HIV infection in HIV-negative individuals before they are exposed to HIV.
The Florida Department of Health has some great information at:
The CDC provides excellent information in an easy to understand format, but above all make sure to consult with your doctor about PREP. https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/prep.html (opens in new window)
What is PEP? Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) involves taking antiretroviral medications as soon as possible after a potential exposure to HIV to reduce the likelihood of HIV infection. There are two types of PEP: 1) occupational PEP, or an exposure that happens in the workplace (such as a needle stick in a healthcare setting), and 2) non-occupational PEP (nPEP), or when someone is potentially exposed to HIV through sexual intercourse or injection drug use.
If you think you’ve recently been exposed to HIV during sex or through sharing needles and works to prepare drugs or if you’ve been sexually assaulted, talk to your health care provider or an emergency room doctor about PEP right away.
The CDC has easy to understand information here: https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/pep.html (opens in new window)
The facts about who is at risk for exposure to HIV-AIDS:
Over the years many myths have developed about WHO can get HIV and HOW it can be transmitted. It is best to trust reputable sources that are backed by the latest science. The website below covers all the most important topics about how HIV is transmitted and who is at risk for exposure:
https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/transmission.html (opens in new window)
And here is a list of interventions for special risk groups:
The facts about Polk’s Current Stats:
Statistics and information about Polk’s incidence of HIV can be found in several places:
The CDC provides information here: https://www.cdc.gov/NCHHSTP/Atlas/ (opens in new window)
The FDOH-Florida has many resources regarding HIV-related data at:
Our community follows the current trends in HIV transmission, this is why we are targeting our outreach to high risk groups and working with other Community Based Organizations and Health Care Providers to reach the worldwide goal of eliminating HIV altogether.
For much useful and reliable information please go to: https://www.aids.gov/ (opens in new window)
Florida Department of Health in Polk County
Primary medical care services are provided to HIV/AIDS clients by board-certified infectious disease specialists and specially trained nurse practitioners in the Specialty Care Clinic located in Bartow.
In addition to medical services, the Specialty Care clinic also provides clients with nutritional and mental health counseling, assistance with obtaining HIV/AIDS medications, and assistance in accessing specialized medical care, dental care, housing, and transportation.
Anonymous testing is offered at the Specialty Care Clinic in Bartow.