Free HIV testing available today in Palm Beach County and Treasure Coast

Planned Parenthood in South Florida is offering free HIV testing today at four locations.

“Many times people cannot afford the cost of an STD test and since Florida continues to lead the nation in new HIV infections, this is a great opportunity to get tested,” said Christina Noce, spokeswoman for the organization.

Testing is available at three locations until 5 p.m.:

  • Stuart Health Center at 1322 NW Federal Highway in Stuart.
  • West Palm Beach Health Center at 931 Village Boulevard, Suite 904 in West Palm Beach.
  • Wellington Health Center at 10111 Forest Hill Boulevard, Suite 340 in Wellington.
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The Boca Raton Health Center at 8177 Glades Road., Suite 25  will offer free testing until 7 p.m.

HIV rates have been on the uptick in South Florida in recent years. Miami has had the second highest new rate of infection in the nation.

One reason, health officials say, is that the disease is no longer a death sentence but manageable through medication.

In a story last year, the Palm Beach Post reported that the increase is a dating landscape dominated by social hookup apps are not helping matters.

“These sites are just meant to hook up and have anonymous sex, and that is very, very risky,” said Dr. Alina Alonso, director of Palm Beach County’s Health Department for the story. “You have no idea what you’re getting or who you are getting, and those are just another component of the risky behavior that is occurring.”

 

Florida Legislature ends the tenure of state Surgeon General Armstrong

The 2016 Legislative ended on Friday – and so did the tenure of Florida Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong.

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Dr. John Armstrong is no longer Florida Surgeon General.

The Florida Senate declined to bring his confirmation vote to the floor and Gov. Rick Scott quickly appointed Dr. Celeste Philip, the department secretary for the Department of Health, as Acting Surgeon General.

Scott first appointed Armstrong in 2012 and reappointed him this year, but the Senate refused to confirm over questions about cuts to staff at the Department of Health, implementation of medical marijuana and his response to the growing HIV rate in South Florida.

There was also concern over children being dropped from the state’s Medicaid rolls and the disbanding of cardiac panel of renowned physicians that reviewed pediatric heart programs of hospitals. The move came after the panel reviewed the pediatric cardiac program at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach – a program that has since been shut down.

Scott lauded Armstrong in announcing Philip’s appointment, saying he made Florida a leading destination for cancer research and treatment and responded to epidemics like Zika.

“Even while battling cancer in recent months, Dr. Armstrong displayed unwavering determination to protect Florida families, and I truly appreciate his hard work,” the governor said in a statement..