Join Us Tuesday For A Special Florida Matters Town Hall

Aug 14, 2015
Originally published on August 31, 2015 10:57 am

You can join us and be a part of our audience for a special Florida Matters town hall on the rising tide of HIV infection in Florida. 

The taping on Tuesday, Sept. 1 at the Selby Auditorium on the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus is free and starts promptly at 11 a.m.; please plan to arrive by 10:45 a.m.  Seating is limited and registration is required. Please RSVP here

According to the Florida Department of Health, a total of 5,377 Floridians were diagnosed with HIV in 2013. That number is higher than anywhere else in the nation.

WUSF and its statewide reporting project, Health News Florida, have been sharing the stories of HIV patients and their communities. We invite you to join us as the conversation continues with a panel discussion moderated by Carson Cooper, the host of WUSF’s weekly public affairs show, Florida Matters. Our panelists include Health News Florida editor Mary Shedden; Debbie Sergi-Laws with Sarasota’s Comprehensive Care Clinic; and Dr. Vilma Vega with Infectious Disease Associates in Sarasota. Audience members will be invited to ask questions as well.

When it comes to the presence of HIV in Florida, the state’s six largest metropolitan areas could be states unto themselves. Here is some perspective:

·         Older Floridians accounted for 23 percent of the new infections in 2013. Of all cases of HIV in the state, 44 percent are 50 years of age or older.

·         If Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach were a state, it would rank sixth nationally in the number of new cases.  The Tampa Bay and Central Florida metro regions each saw more new cases than two dozen other states.

·         The gay community has been living with the realities of HIV infection since the disease emerged in the 1980s. And while it’s at the forefront of many prevention efforts, infections persist.