Hastings marks opening of new AHF Broward Wellness Center
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL —Recently Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) attended the opening ceremony of AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s (AHF) new Broward Wellness Center in Fort Lauderdale. Since April 1, 2013, AHF has been providing clinical services for the diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) on behalf of the Florida Department of Health in Broward County. AHF is the largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical care in the United States, with more than 200,000 patients in 28 countries worldwide.
I am proud to join AHF, the Fort Lauderdale City Commission, the Florida and Broward County Departments of Health, and members of the community to mark the opening of the Broward Wellness Center. Since its founding in 1987, AHF has been at the forefront of providing treatment and care to individuals living with HIV/AIDS regardless of their ability to pay. The addition of AHF’s new Broward Wellness Center in Fort Lauderdale represents a significant step forward in improving the health of South Florida’s residents by increasing access to testing, treatment, and care for STDs.
The truth of the matter is that, while many people know of STDs such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis, herpes, or HPV, most know little about them. There are 19 million new cases of STDs each year, and almost half of them are among our nation’s young people between the ages of 15 and 24. In Broward County alone, the number of syphilis cases has increased dramatically since 2000, and outpaced that of the entire state since 2005. In addition, several groups, including certain racial and ethnic minorities, are disproportionately impacted by STDs.
Public misconception about STDs is widespread, in large part because many of them have no symptoms. The first step to preventing the spread of STDs and seeking treatment is testing. Knowing one’s status is vitally important to protecting one’s health. Many STDs can be easily diagnosed and treated, but only if an individual gets tested and is aware of his or her status.
All sexually active individuals can take responsibility for their health – and the health of their loved ones and community – by educating themselves about STDs. As we mark the opening of the Broward Wellness Center, I hope that this facility will further encourage an open dialogue about STDs and HIV/AIDS in our community. I remain committed to working with AIDS Healthcare Foundation and all our partners at the state and local level to ensure a healthier future for Florida.”
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.