JACKSONVILLE, FLA-- Each year 50,000 people contract AIDS according to the Centers for Disease Control. AIDs and HIV decreased overall in Florida 2012, but the number of reported cases in Duval County grew from 2011 to 2012.
Dr. Mobeen Rathore with UF & Shands Jacksonville said that could be because more people are getting tested. He said that is good because the most important thing is that a person knows what his or her AIDs status is. One way people are starting to test themselves is through a home kit called OraQuick. You can buy it at a pharmacy store for around $40 and should get an answer in about 15 minutes.
Since this can be done at home, in private, First Coast News asked Dr. Rathore if he was worried that more people would keep their status private and not notify others.
He said it was more important that people start testing themselves regulary, either at a hospital or at a local health department. Then they know their status and can seek treatment if they test positive. If it is negative, they should continue healthy lifestyle practices and get tested at least once a year.
The directions on the OraQuick box says it can only detect HIV or AIDs if an exposure happened more than 3 months prior. Dr. Rathore says if you feel you have been exposed, you should not wait that long. Instead get tested immediately at a professional facility such as a health department.
The onset of symptoms are different in each person.
"You may actually feel like you have a bad viral infection. That is all it may feel like so the only way to know if you are infected or not is to get tested," told Dr. Rathore.
Another reason it is important to know your status, it is a crime to knowingly give AIDs or HIV to another person.
Here is a link to OraQuick's website: http://www.oraquick.com/
Duval County Health Department: http://www.dchd.net/ or 904-253-1000
St. Johns County Health Department: http://www.stjohnschd.org/ or 904-825-5055 x 1066
Clay County Health Department: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/chdclay/index.htm or 904-529-2802
Nassau County Health Department: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/chd/nassau/ or 904-548-1800
Baker County Health Department: http://doh.state.fl.us/CHDBaker/
Bradford County Health Department: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/chdbradford/index.html or (904) 964-7732
Putnam County Health Department: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/chdputnam/index.html or (386) 326-3200
Camden County Health Department: http://www.gachd.org/counties/camden_county_health_departmen.php or (912) 262-2300
Charlton County Health Department: http://www.sehdph.org/charlton-county.htm or 912-496-2561
Ware County Health Department: http://www.sehdph.org/ware-county.htm or 912-283-1875
First Coast News