About We Make The Change

Together, we can become a powerful threat against the AIDS epidemic by turning our knowledge of HIV into action – and this action starts with each of us. That’s the philosophy behind We Make The Change. We can make changes in our own lives – and in our community – to stop the spread of HIV infection. By coming together, and sharing information, we build the foundation for a stronger neighborhood, a stronger family, and a stronger message: We are more powerful than the disease.



According to the latest figures published today in the UNAIDS/WHO 2006 AIDS Epidemic Update, an estimated 39.5 million people are living with HIV. There were 4.3 million new infections in 2006 with 2.8 million (65%) of these occurring in sub-Saharan Africa and important increases in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, where there are some indications that infection rates have risen by more than 50% since 2004. In 2006, 2.9 million people died of AIDS-related illnesses.

In the United States

Cumulatively through December 2005, an estimated 925,452 AIDS cases have been reported in the US. In 2005, 40,733 AIDS cases were reported in the US. Cumulatively through December 2005, 9,017 pediatric AIDS cases have been reported in the US. In recent years, new treatments have slowed the progression from HIV to AIDS and from AIDS to death in people infected with HIV in the United States. As a result, the U.S. rates of new AIDS cases and AIDS deaths have dropped dramatically. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rate of HIV infection is remaining relatively stable in the U.S., with approximately 40,000 Americans becoming infected each year. Increasing proportions of new infections have been among women, certain racial/ethnic minority populations, and people infected through heterosexual contact.

The CDC estimates that about three-quarters of HIV-positive individuals in the United States have received HIV tests and know their HIV status. This means that an estimated one-quarter of all HIV-positive Americans are not yet aware that they are infected.

In Florida

In 1981, the first case of AIDS was diagnosed in Florida. Cumulatively through 2005, 101,013 (99,509 adults, aged 13+ yr.) AIDS cases have been reported in Florida. Florida ranks third in the nation in the number of AIDS cases. In 2005, 4,869 AIDS cases were reported in Florida. Cumulatively through 2005, 1,504 pediatric AIDS cases have been reported in Florida. Florida ranks second in the nation in the number of pediatric AIDS cases. Males account for 76% of cumulative reported AIDS cases, and females account for 24%. The Bureau of HIV/AIDS estimates that 125,000 Floridians are living with HIV infection. These estimates include those who have been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS, as well as those who are unaware of their HIV infection.

HIV in Florida’s Minority Communities

The HIV/AIDS epidemic in Florida has disproportionately affected its minority populations. Of the 101,013 cumulative adult cases of AIDS that were reported through December 2005, 65 percent were in minority populations. Of the 1,504 cumulative pediatric AIDS cases, almost 89 percent were among minorities.

Among Blacks

Florida’s black communities consist of many groups with different cultural backgrounds, religious beliefs and affiliations. Our communities include people from the Caribbean Islands, Europe, and Africa. Many black communities are faced with pervasive poverty, poor schools, and inadequate social services, housing and job opportunities. Blacks comprise 14%* of Florida’s adult (13+) population, but nearly half (49%) of the 101,013 AIDS cases and 53% of the 35,584 HIV cases reported through December 2005. In 2005, blacks accounted for 45% of AIDS cases in men and 70% of those in women.

Among Hispanics

Hispanic communities are extremely diverse. These communities include people from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Central or South America, or other Spanish-speaking cultures or countries. During the past 20 years, the Hispanic population has emerged as one of the fastest growing segments of the population in the United States and Florida. Many Hispanic communities are faced with problems of unemployment, inadequate housing, poor access to health care, and language barriers.

Hispanics comprise 18% of Florida’s adult (13+) population, 16% of the 99,509 adult AIDS cases and 18% of the 35,214 adult HIV (not AIDS) cases through December 2005. In 2005, Hispanics accounted for 20% of AIDS cases in men and 14% of those in women.

HIV/AIDS Among Other Minorities Asian/Pacific Islanders, Native Americans/Alaskan Natives, people of multiple races and those of some other race comprise 4 percent of Florida’s population. Members of these communities differ widely in language, cultures and times of immigration. Combined, these groups represent less than 1 percent of the cumulative AIDS cases reported through December 2005.

About the Florida Department of Health

The Florida Department of Health’s Bureau of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis is dedicated to providing a coordinated approach to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. We’re also committed to providing the necessary care and treatment to people who are already infected. We’re proud to offer the following services:

  • Education and prevention services at county health departments (CHDs) and community-based organizations (CBOs)
  • HIV counseling, testing and partner referral services
  • HIV prevention for pregnant women
  • HIV services to inmates in jails and prisons
  • HIV/AIDS medications for those who cannot afford them
  • Hepatitis testing and Hepatitis A&B vaccines
  • Housing and utility payments to HIV infected people
  • Community-based medical and care services to persons infected with HIV/AIDS
  • Technical assistance to help providers better serve the community
  • A statewide Florida Comprehensive Planning Network for community and department
  • representatives that conducts prevention, patient care and hepatitis planning.
  • A statewide minority media HIV prevention campaign
  • Research studies to analyze infection and risk behaviors in Florida
  • Data used to analyze trends and conduct special investigations

If you have questions or comments, fill out the form below. We appreciate your feedback and look forward to hearing from you.