Metro Wellness observes 30th World AIDS Day with extensive testing, educational campaign

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA BAY | Metro Wellness and Community Centers will observe the 30th annual World AIDS Day Nov. 29-Dec. 7 with “Let’s Talk,” a campaign featuring educational and testing opportunities across Tampa Bay.

Metro has provided free HIV testing and treatment, along with prevention and education, for over 25 years. World AIDS Day, the first ever global health day, has been held annually on Dec. 1 since 1988. It provides a worldwide opportunity to unite in the fight against HIV, show support for people living with HIV and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness.

Tampa Bay continues to see a rise in HIV infections among all ages and genders, Metro shared Nov. 27, noting that minority communities are at high risk. The organization highlighted the following statistics:

  • In Hillsborough County, HIV infections among those aged 35-39 rose nearly 41%, 60+ rose over 83% and among teens, aged 13-19, nearly 67%.
  • In Pinellas County, HIV infections among those aged 35-39 rose nearly 100%, nearly 50% among those aged 50-54 and among teens aged 13-19, 25%.
  • In Pasco County, HIV infections among those aged 25-34 rose nearly 300% and nearly 500% among those aged 35-39.
  • According to analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if current rates persist, about 1 in 2 black men who have sex with men (MSM) and 1 in 4 Latino MSM in the United States will be diagnosed with HIV during their lifetime.

“‘Let’s Talk’ is aimed at increasing opportunities to ‘know your status’ with mobile testing sites across Tampa Bay while opening a discussion about safer sex and prevention, including PrEP, a daily pill that’s covered by most insurances and can reduce the risk of HIV infection by up to 99 percent,” Metro explains. “Cost assistance programs can also make PrEP available at little to no cost for those without insurance.”

Metro will utilize “Let’s Talk” to observe the 30th World AIDS Day in a number of ways beginning Nov. 29. Information on their free testing and events can be found below – for additional details about locations and offerings, visit their website and Facebook event page.

Nov. 29

6:00 – 9:00 p.m.  | City Mix | LGBTQ Welcome Center

Nov. 30

10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Coffee Talk | Metro St. Petersburg

3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. | Pinellas Planning Partnership | Walgreens

Dec. 1

7:00 a.m.  – 3:00pm | Hillsborough County Health Dept.

10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. | LGBTQ Welcome Center

11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. | Delta Chapter Presents: Positively U

12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. | Food Truck gathering | Flamingo Resort

2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. |1st Annual Red Ribbon Champions | Flamingo Resort

6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. | TS Madison Presents: Vision of St. Pete

11:30 p.m. – 1:30 a.m. | Palladium Tampa

Dec. 2

2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. | Flamingo Resort

Dec. 4

11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Men’s’ Group | Metro St. Petersburg

1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. | HERR Group in New Port Richey

9:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. | Club Skye Tampa

Dec. 5

11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | HERR Group in Tampa

5:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. | Impac+ Group: Let’s Talk … We Were Here | LGBTQ Welcome Center

6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. | HERR Group in St. Petersburg: Let’s Talk … Meds

Dec. 6

12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. | HERR Group in Tampa: Let’s Talk … Meds

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. | Health Literacy Class/Group: Let’s Talk … HIV Health

7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. | Impac+ Group: Let’s Talk … We Were Here

9:00 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. | Pride Bowling | Dunedin Lanes

Dec. 7

7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. | Enigma

Photo courtesy Metro Wellness and Community Centers.

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