• Duval among 7 counties in Florida to beat HIV with nearly half a million federal dollars

    By: Jamarlo Phillips , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - More than $490,000 is being given to seven Florida counties, including Duval, as part of a national effort to try to prevent HIV and AIDS in the next 10 years.

    The funding is made possible as part of the ending the HIV epidemic initiative, which was announced by the Trump administration this year. 

    The city of Jacksonville has the ninth-highest rate of new HIV diagnosis in the country.

    What keeps you going? "These kids, my kids," Renee Burgess said. 

    Renee Burgess remembers the day back in 2007 when she was diagnosed with HIV.

    "I go around, I speak, I educate," said Burgess.


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    That was 12 years ago when this mother of four's whole life changed after a visit to the doctor.
    "He chose not to tell me, and I found out at my prenatal lab appointments," said Burgess.
     
    At the time Burgess was pregnant with twins.

    "A lot of people say are your twins infected? So, my twins are negative, they were not infected with the virus," Burgess added.

    Renee and others fighting the HIV battle now have new help with half a million dollars.

    "It's always exciting when funding is available because a lot of the HIV organizations other than the health department, they have to reach out to the public for funding," Burgess said.

    Last year 296 people were diagnosed with HIV in Duval County.

    "A lot of people are afraid to go get tested because of how high the rates are," Burgess said.

    Burgess says to keep healthy, know your status, educate yourself, and most of all love yourself in your body.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends that anyone aged 13 to 64 get tested for HIV on a regular basis.

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