Pasco County is number 1 in something. We are leading the State of Florida in Acute Hepatitis B infection rates. We have an issue. An issue we are not talking about. Currently along the US 19 corridor we have an issue with IV drug use. The sharing of needles is increasing the community viral load. We know that with Hepatitis B infection rates being as high as they are, it is soon to be expected that our HIV and Hepatitis C rates will soon be spiking as well.
We need to be funding prevention programs, rehab programs, and educational programs. Unfortunately the current Legislators have been defunding them. The program that I worked for was eliminated from the state of Florida and now we have to figure out what is going to happen for people living with HIV/AIDS in the future. Watching the national news and reading about the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS has me very concerned about how things will be moving forward. We have a problem here in Florida and with the current climate being to cut programs and eliminate assistance, we will be seeing numbers that our community cannot handle. We need to start electing officials who understand what is going on in their community and that understand about HIV/AIDS, not officials that do not understand what is going on or work under the impression that if you ignore a problem long enough it will go away. Our current Infection rates are not going away. We need to start looking at funding sources that can help us.
How can we defund programs when we are having major issues. This makes no sense. We need to start reminding our elected officials that people matter and the issues that effect their lives matter as well.