How Florida law discourages people from learning their HIV status

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The virus that causes AIDS is spreading in Florida faster than in any other state; so you’d think lawmakers would encourage people to get tested and know their HIV status.

But Alejandro Acosta, the HIV Advocacy Project coordinator for Equality Florida, tells WMNF News that state laws may actually encourage people to not get tested.

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Friday is World AIDS Day. Here’s information about an event in St. Petersburg:

World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, has been observed since 1988 to create awareness of testing and treatment for HIV/AIDS. This year, the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County (DOH-Pinellas) and the Pinellas Planning Partnership will provide no-cost testing, information and more at the Gibbs campus of St. Petersburg College at 6605 5th Ave N. in St. Petersburg.

The event will take place from 10 AM to 4 PM on its Quad Lawn. There will be HIV testing, health screenings, STD testing (rapid syphilis) hepatitis C testing, flu shots, Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines, food, entertainment and prizes, all at no cost to attendees. Tampa Bay’s Hip Hop and R&B radio station, 95.7 the Beat, will be on-site to broadcast the event live.

This year, DOH-Pinellas is supporting the local theme, “The Burg Cares”, which highlights the importance of a community devoted to educating and supporting its residents in the fight against HIV and AIDS. To show your support for World AIDS Day, DOH-Pinellas is asking the community to use the hashtag, #TheBurgCares, on Friday, Dec. 1.

The event is organized by the Pinellas Planning Partnership, which includes DOH-Pinellas, St. Petersburg College, among many other local organizations and businesses.