Education and Prevention

Education and Prevention of HIV/AIDS has been a major function of Big Bend Cares since its founding in 1987. We feel that education is so important that it is part of our Mission Statement which is “Big Bend Cares provides education and comprehensive support to people infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS in the Big Bend area.”

Big Bend Cares offers educational materials and presentations on HIV to the community for FREE. These classes teach transmission methods, risk factors, HIV symptoms, promote testing, explain the difference between HIV and AIDS, go over facts verses myths about HIV and much more. During these presentations and at community events, we distribute thousands of free condoms each month. If you would like to schedule an educational session for your worksite, school or community group, please contact Camye Edwards, Director of Prevention and Outreach, at 850-354-8765 ext. 238 or at cedwards@bigbendcares.org.

Big Bend Cares also provides FREE and confidential rapid testing for HIV and Syphilis. Testing is available by appointment on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8am to 5pm at Care Point Health and Wellness Center (2200 South Monroe Street, Tallahassee, FL 32301). Call 850-354-8765 to make an appointment.

FREE confidential HIV testing and Syphilis screening are also provided at community events. Testing events have been held at local homeless support agencies, health fairs, community centers, colleges and churches. If you are interested in having us provide FREE on-site testing at your event, please contact Camye Edwards, Director of Prevention and Outreach, at 850- 354-8765 ext. 238 or at cedwards@bigbendcares.org.

Abstinence (not having sex) prevents you from getting HIV through sexual contact. Condoms, as well as Dental Dams also help protect you if you are sexually active. And if you’re an IV drug user, always using clean needles helps prevent the spread of HIV. There is also PrEP and PEP – both of which can prevent the virus but they require a doctor’s prescription. PrEP stands for “pre-exposure prophylaxis.” If you are at high risk of HIV exposure, a doctor might recommend PrEP which is a program that includes taking specific drugs to fight HIV, even though you now test negative for the virus. PEP stands for “post- exposure prophylaxis.” It means going on anti-HIV drugs within 72 hours of exposure to HIV/AIDS to prevent the transmission of the virus. PEP treatment lasts 28 days.

The following are excellent resources for more information on HIV/AIDS:

  1. https://npin.cdc.gov/disease/hiv
    The CDC National Prevention Information Network (NPIN)
    is the U.S. reference and referral service for information on HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, sexually
    transmitted diseases (STDs), and tuberculosis (TB).
  2. http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/aids/index.html
    The Florida Department of Health HIV/AIDS has information regarding prevention, PrEP, and treatment.
  3. https://www.211bigbend.org/flhivaidshotline
    The Florida HIV/AIDS Hotline is the statewide resource for HIV/AIDS-related information, community referrals and supportive telephone counseling. Callers receive information on HIV and AIDS related issues including locations of testing sites and program services in Florida.
  4. https://aidsinfo.nih.gov/
    Provides information on HIV/AIDS Treatment, prevention and research