2018 WAVE Awards Spotlight: Orlando Immunology Center

By : Jeremy Williams
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CENTRAL FLORIDA’S FAVORITE LGBTQ BUSINESS NOT A BAR/CLUB (OVER ONE YEAR), FAVORITE LOCAL HEALTHCARE PROVIDER (DR. EDWIN DEJESUS), WHO SHOULD BE ON THE COVER OF CENTRAL FLORIDA’S WAVE AWARD ISSUE (DR. EDWIN DEJESUS)

The Orlando Immunology Center, commonly referred to as OIC, has been a part of the Central Florida area for more than 40 years. They are the oldest and largest infectious disease clinic in Central Florida—one of the largest in the state—and specialize in the medical needs of the LGBTQ community. It’s no wonder that they were voted Central Florida’s favorite LGBTQ business.

The readers also named OIC medical director Dr. Edwin DeJesus as Central Florida’s favorite local healthcare provider, as well as the person they wanted to see on the cover of this issue.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be recognized but I know that when they vote for me they are recognizing and valuing this institution because I wouldn’t be who I am without everyone in this building,” DeJesus says, “from our social media campaigns to the nurses and the clinical staff who work to fix any and all of our patient’s issues. I think the overall organization has done a lot of great work in the community.”

DeJesus, who grew up in Puerto Rico, came to Central Florida in 1993 at a time when a lot of people were still dying due to complications of the AIDS virus.

“I would come into my office on Mondays and on my desk was a small piece of white paper.,” DeJesus recalls. “Written on it were the names of the people who died while I was away. It was tough, but as these new drugs started to come out I would see the list get shorter and shorter. Finally one Monday, I came in and there was no list.”

At the time, these lifesaving drugs were going to places like New York, Chicago and San Francisco, places with big university hospitals, to be tested.

“We didn’t have anything like that here at the time so they weren’t sending us the drugs,” DeJesus says. “So I had to prove to all those companies that they didn’t need to do the treatments in university hospitals. They could come right here.”

OIC was one of the first private clinics in the country that was able to attract a sponsor company to test their HIV medications here in Central Florida. Today, OIC can have anywhere from 40 to 60 different medical studies going on at one time.

“We have been a participant in every single HIV medication currently on the market. Every single medication OIC’s name is somewhere in there as a participant. That is something we are very proud of,” DeJesus says.

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