Orange County Gets $10 Million For HIV/AIDS Care
Orange County is getting a $10 million federal grant to enhance HIV/AIDS medical care and critical support services for local residents.
The grant provides direct financial assistance to metropolitan areas that have been the most severely affected by the HIV epidemic. Although HIV rates have plummeted nationwide, in Florida the virus continues to ravage communities.
The Orlando metropolitan area jumped to second place among U.S. cities for the highest rate of new HIV diagnoses in 2017 with 718 new cases, according to a recent report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The only rate higher than Orlando came from the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metro area, which had 2,177 new diagnoses.
In 2017, 4,800 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in the Sunshine State – more than any other state in the nation, including bigger states like California, Texas, New York and Georgia.
Last year under Gov. Rick Scott, the Florida Department of Health finally began providing the HIV prevention drug for free throughout the state after advocates complained the state wasn’t doing enough. Newly elected Gov. Ron DeSantis’ plan for combating the epidemic remains to be seen.
The $10 million grant will help enhance access to high-quality care for people with HIV and supports strategies to reach communities of color for the estimated 10,000 to 12,000 living with HIV or AIDS in the Metro Orlando area.
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