ATLANTA – In recognition of World AIDS Day and as part of its ongoing commitment to encourage prevention, early detection, and treatment, the Fulton County Board of Health is advising all sexually active residents to get tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), practice safer sex, and break the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS.
Georgia has among the highest HIV rates in the country, with more than 60,000 residents living with the virus, which can lead to AIDS. To combat this, the Fulton County Board of Health’s sexual health program is expanding to Neighborhood Union Health Center located at 186 Sunset Avenue N.W. in Atlanta to better serve the community by offering testing, free condoms, and treatment options for residents who are at risk of contracting the virus and anyone living with HIV.
Mitigation efforts appear to be working, including PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis). Data from 2020, the most recent year available, shows PrEP usage has steadily increased as new HIV cases continue to decrease.
“Despite this decrease, there’s still work to be done,” says Joshua O’Neal, Director of Sexual Health, Fulton County Board of Health. “We need to reach the most vulnerable residents to help eliminate the spread of HIV in Fulton County.”
Regular testing is key to staying healthy and knowing your status. HIV can be treated, allowing you to live a long and healthy life if it is detected early enough. Treatment options vary depending on the patient’s needs and viral loads, but in most cases, medication can be used to keep viral loads low, a status known as “undetectable.” People who are considered undetectable cannot spread HIV.
“Stopping the spread of HIV is one of our top priorities at the Fulton County Board of Health. Our sexual health team is working to increase community outreach and make testing as well as treatment available to everyone,” says Dr. Lynn Paxton, District Health Director, Fulton County Board of Health.
You can learn more about treatment options as well as other sexual health services online or by visiting our new clinic at Neighborhood Union Health Center. We also offer testing and treatments at 10 Park Place Health Center, College Park Regional Health Center, or Adamsville Regional Health Center. Testing and treatments are available to Fulton County residents at little to no cost, even if you don’t have insurance.
The Fulton County Board of Health provides a variety of services that help protect residents from health threats, increase access to health services to improve health outcomes, and provide information that assists Fulton County citizens in living healthier lives. For more information on the Fulton County Board of Health, visit http://www.fultoncountyboh.com.