The Florida Department of Health in Broward County launched a new HIV program called Test and Treat this month, with the goal of getting medication to people who are newly diagnosed with HIV or returning to care, reports CBS Miami. Public awareness ads for the program feature the tagline “Test, Treat and Beat HIV.”
“We want to close the loop and take that patient right over to be linked to care and get started on medication the same day,” said Deberenia Allen, MD, medical director for Memorial Healthcare System’s Rapid HIV Testing program.
To that end, the health department is partnering with HIV testing sites, the Broward County Ryan White Part A office, Ryan White HIV primary care providers and hospitals and private doctors. Physicians are invited to join the program, and several AIDS service organizers have already agreed to participate in the Test and Treat program.
People without insurance or with inadequate coverage can still receive medication the same day.
When people with HIV start treatment and become undetectable, not only does their own health improve but also their chance of transmitting the virus becomes virtually zero. (To read more about this concept, called treatment as prevention, click #TasP.)
The Test, Treat and Beat HIV campaign in Broward County includes several other aspects, including promoting Truvada as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and recommending HIV testing for routine doctor visits.
“Routine testing and prevention education is of the utmost importance here,” said Farzanna Haffizulla, MD. “Broward County ranks No. 2 for number of new HIV cases and AIDS cases.”
To read about different Test, Treat and Beat campaigns—and to watch their related videos—click here.