The Area 7 HIV program of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County is now offering free at-home HIV testing kits to Central Florida.
Residents of Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Brevard counties can request a kit by visiting the Talk Test Treat Central Florida website (https://talktestcfl.com/). The self-administered kit will be mailed to individuals at no cost and comes with step-by-step instructions, the oral testing swab, and test tube. The test is confidential and follow up by Area 7 HIV staff is optional.
“We are pleased to offer this service to the Central Florida region,” said Dr. Raul Pino, Health Officer for the Florida Department of Health in Orange County. “Even during the current COVID-19 pandemic, knowing one’s HIV status is important because nearly 40% of new infections are transmitted by people who don’t know they have the virus. This at-home test can further our efforts to fight the spread of HIV within the region.”
The at-home HIV test allows individuals to test themselves for HIV without sending a sample to a lab for analysis or visiting a clinic. Designed for home use, the test kit is the same test healthcare professionals have used for years and provides preliminary results in just 20 minutes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2018 HIV Surveillance Report, the Orlando Metropolitan Area (Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford) ranked number five in the country for new HIV case rates.
The CDC recommends that all individuals 13–64 years old be tested for HIV at least once during their lifetime, and persons at increased risk for HIV infection be tested at least annually. With early diagnosis, individuals can begin appropriate treatment and care resulting in better health outcomes. Studies have shown that providing antiretroviral therapy as early as possible after diagnosis improves a patient’s health, reduces transmission, and can eventually lead to undetectable HIV viral loads.
To learn more about the At-Home HIV Test Kit program, call 407-858-1400 or email Dlchd48area7@flhealth.gov.