A nonprofit that serves Central Florida residents with HIV and AIDS says the rates are going up.
The Hope and Help Center of Central Florida will move from Winter Park to a location in East Orlando next week. They offer free sexually-transmitted infection testing, case management for those with the disease and safe sex education.
Joshua Meyers with Hope & Help said they need the bigger space, “because our demand for testing and HIV care services has increased dramatically. With the rise in HIV infections in Orlando, that kinda makes sense.”
Hope and Help tested more than 5,000 people last year for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. They’re funded in part from the federal Ryan White program.
Meyers said the Ryan White figures show 600 new HIV infections in Orlando last year, which made Orlando the city with the sixth highest infection rate in the country – up from No. 8.
“Ryan White estimates that there about 12,000 people in the Central Florida area living with HIV and another 500 people who don’t actually know they’re infected,” Meyers said.
Meyer says Florida has again become the state with the most new HIV infections. The last time that happened, the spike was later attributed to duplicate cases that should have been counted in other states.