(St. Petersburg, FL—December 2, 2019)— To honor World AIDS Day, Zero Pinellas is partnering with members of the Pinellas Planning Partnership to host an event to show to support for those living with HIV, bring awareness to the current HIV epidemic, and offer onsite HIV testing. Zero Pinellas is a community partnership dedicated to reducing new HIV cases by providing education and services for those at risk and living with HIV. The event will take place on Saturday, December 7 at The Center for Health Equity in St. Petersburg from 10am-2pm.
More than 100,000 people are living with HIV in the state of Florida, that number comprising 12.5% of the national rate. There are more than 12,000 people living with HIV in the Tampa Bay area, according to 2017 data AIDSVU, a site that monitors national numbers on the virus. ZERO Pinellas is working to reduce these numbers and increase awareness through various initiatives.
“Florida has a high population of those living with HIV which means we have to be even more diligent to make sure they have the care and resources they need,” says Shaquira Robinson, ZERO Pinellas Project Coordinator. “It’s our collective responsibility as a community to make sure people have access to testing, medicine and education to prevent and manage the virus.”
As a transient area, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties see an influx of those coming from other areas in need of care, but unsure of how or where to get it. With nearly 5,000 infected people in Pinellas County alone, there is more urgency than ever to find solutions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone 13 and older be tested at least once in their lives for HIV. High-risk populations should test at least once a year.x
Saturday’s program begins at 11am and will include information on ending the HIV epidemic, awards for community trailblazers, and testimonies from those living with the virus. There will be free and confidential HIV testing on-site for attendees to learn their status and receive support immediately, if needed. There will also be various vendors providing giveaways from 10am-2pm.
ABOUT ZERO Pinellas: Using the combined strengths of the community partners and major players, ZERO Pinellas want to implement a new model of care that goes above and beyond the current norm of HIV testing, treating, and retaining individuals in care, thus reducing new HIV infections and decreasing viral loads.
About Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg: About the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg The Foundation for a Health St. Petersburg is a private foundation working with the communities of Pinellas County to eradicate inequality, achieve health equity, and improve population health. The Foundation inspires and empowers people, organizations, ideas, and relationships to ensure that every person equitably achieves optimal health and well-being. In Fall 2019, the Foundation is opening the Center for Health Equity in South St. Petersburg, a place where people can come together to explore ideas and find solutions to community problems and advance health equity.