HIV PREVENTION PROGRAM
- 1 in 7 people are unaware of their status.
- 22% of people aged 13-24 are HIV positive.
- 37,968 people in the U.S. received an HIV diagnosis in 2018.
- HIV/AIDS is still the top 10 leading cause of death for those aged 25-44.
- The south has the highest number of people living with HIV, accounting for 51% of the total HIV/AIDS population in the united states.
- Worldwide, there were about 1.7 million new cases of HIV in 2018. About 37.9 million people were living with HIV around the world in 2018.
To address HIV in the South Health District, the HIV Prevention Program provides free HIV testing, linkage to care for persons who are diagnosed HIV positive, and linkage to PrEP for those who are HIV negative but are engaging in activities which place them at high risk for HIV infection. Studies have consistently found that HIV negative persons on Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP, do not become HIV positive, and HIV positive persons linked to care who achieve viral suppression (undetectable) live healthy lives and do not infect others.
The goal of the HIV Prevention Program is to provide a seamless system of healthcare which ensures that whether someone needs prevention services or HIV care, they can have their needs met.
HIV PREVENTION SERVICES PROVIDED
- Free HIV tests
- Free condoms
- Linkage to HIV Care
- Linkage to PrEP
- Community education and Screenings
The only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested. The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. Knowing your HIV status gives you powerful information to help take the steps to keep you and your partner healthy!
All health departments in the South Health District provide HIV testing at no charge. This includes Ben Hill, Berrien, Brooks, Cook, Echols, Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes, Tift and Turner.
What should I expect?
HIV testing is 100% confidential and conducted by certified HIV Testing Counselors. Your Testing Counselor will talk to you about HIV risk factors, answer your questions and discuss prevention measures. A sample is collected through a small finger prick and the result of your rapid HIV antibody test is completed in as quickly as one minute.
What if my test is reactive/positive?
A confirmatory test will be conducted. If that follow-up test is also positive, it is a confirmed HIV diagnosis and you will be connected to a Linkage Coordinator.
Contact Information: HIV testing, condom distribution, and outreach requests: (229) 245-8711
Stay protected during the pandemic. Call our confidential condom line at (229) 245-8711, Ext. 208. and leave your name, mailing address, phone number (only needed for address confirmation) and preferred condom pack (Magnum pack, variety pack, non-latex male pack, or internal condoms – previously known as female condoms), and we will mail them to you.
Linkage Coordinators assist both newly and previously diagnosed HIV-positive individuals access care and services.
For additional information or to refer a client, providers may contact the Linkage to Care Program at (229) 245-8711.
“PrEP” stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. PrEP is a powerful HIV prevention tool which prevents HIV negative individuals with very high risk behavior from becoming HIV positive. PrEP combined with condoms and other prevention methods provide even greater protection to prevent HIV and STI than when used alone. Individuals who use PrEP must commit to taking the drug every day and seeing their health care provider for follow-up every 3 months.
Community outreach plays a key role in delivering prevention services to our community. While we offer a variety of services, our staff also provides testing and education services throughout the South Health District. Whether testing off-site, attending health fairs, or providing education to classrooms, our Prevention Specialists are equipped to provide a high-quality testing experience in addition to up-to-date information regarding HIV prevention strategies
General Phone Line: (229) 245-8711
Prevention Program Manager Angela Varnadore: (229) 245-8711 ext. 208
PrEP Navigator Eltonia Henry: (229) 245-2301
Linkage to Care Debbie Gray: (229) 245-8711 ext. 230
Health Educator Hunter Martin: (229) 245-8711 ext. 291