It's HIV Testing Day! See Where To Get Screened In South Florida

One-point-two-million Americans are living with HIV and healthcare providers are setting up shop today to administer tests for National HIV Testing Day.  

This year's theme is "test your way, do it today," referring to the many ways people can get tested for HIV.  The CDC says people can get tested at a clinic, a testing event, at home or from a local organization. 

This increased access is part of an awareness campaign that urges everyone to get tested -- even if they don't think they're at risk.  The organization recommends everyone from 13- to 64-years-old get tested for HIV at least once.  The CDC says sexually active gay men and bisexual men could benefit from an HIV test every three to six months.

In Florida, Miami-Dade and Broward are the top two counties when it comes to new HIV diagnoses. The Sunshine State remains one of five states across the south with some of the most severe impacts from the HIV epidemic.

"Nationally and regionally, we have some work to do to combat this issue," said Imara Canaday from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which recently opened a seventh Miami-Dade clinic in Liberty City, all of which will be offering free HIV testing on Tuesday. "More importantly, locally, we need to be getting folks tested and getting those who test positive linked to care."

Fortunately, testing is more widely available than ever as are treatments for making sure HIV does not mean the death sentence it once did. While HIV-positive patients formerly needed an expensive and complex cocktail of multiple specialized prescriptions, advancements in the medical field mean that current patients may only need to take a single pill to keep their situation in check.

The most important step in treatment is the first one and that means getting checked yourself. Click here for a list of locations around our area and elsewhere in Florida that are offering HIV tests on Tuesday, many of which are free and show other potential warning signs as part of the test.

Here is a more detailed list of available testing sites in Miami-Dade County as well as additional sites around Broward County, both complete with maps to help you find them. There are also test sites available in Palm Beach County and if you can't make it out on Tuesday, many of these places provide free tests any day of the year.

(Photo credit: Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images)

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