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HIV-AIDS Services

What is HIV infection?
HIV infection is an infection caused by the HIV virus. The HIV or human immunodeficiency virus is the virus responsible for AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). There is typically a latency period of between 5 to 15 years after the infection during which the infected person shows no symptoms

How does one get infected?
Generally, a person can be infected with HIV in the following ways:

  • By sharing hypodermic needles with an infected blood donor.
  • By receiving a transfusion from an infected blood donor.
  • By being treated with a contaminated blood product.
  • By having unprotected sex with an infected person.
  • HIV positive mother can infect their babies before birth during the pregnancy, at the moment of birth or by breast-feeding.

What does a positive HIV test mean?
Once infected with the HIV virus, the body begins to create antibodies against the virus. Antibodies are part of the natural immune response, the body's efforts to fight an infection, and are specific for each antigen, in this case the HIV virus. Within a few weeks, there are detectable levels of antibody circulating throughout the blood, and a physician can determine an infection with a simple blood test. A positive result does not mean that a patient has AIDS. However, it does mean that the patient is infected with the virus even if they show no symptoms and feel well. It also means that the patient can transmit the virus on to others including a future baby, a baby that the patient is breast feeding, or a sexual partner.

What can I do if I'm infected?
There are many positive steps that you can take care to protect yourself and others. You should consider options that keep you and your loved ones healthy. If you don't have a personal physician, speak with one of our HIV counselors at Miami Beach Community Health Center at (305) 538-8835 to make an appointment. They will ask you to visit our center so that you can receive the services you need.

Words of advice.
Finding out that you are HIV infected isn't pleasant. It means that you'll have to start living a different lifestyle. Not acting immediately and burying your head in the sand, won't make it go away. Here are some steps you can take immediately.

  • Learn all you can about HIV and AIDS.
  • Be selective about whom you share your medical information with.
  • Keep your health insurance up-to-date.
  • Learn your legal rights.
  • Speak with an advisor or the one in charge of your case.
  • Ask your doctor questions.
  • Eat right, take vitamin supplements, take your vitamins, and practice good health habits.

What services are available at Miami Beach Community Health Center?
MBCHC has actively been involved in the fight against HIV and AIDS by providing the community with HIV prevention and education programs and access to highly trained health care personnel. Services are available to everyone regardless of their race, religion, national origin, or ability of pay. MBCHC has trained personnel ready to provide examinations, counseling, and referrals.

The following are just some of the services that Miami Beach Community Health Center offers.

Tests for the HIV antibody
HIV screening test are available from Monday thru Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Pre and Post test are performed by a trained and certified Counselor. The center provides pre and post test counseling. The test is free and confidential.

Medical Case management
HIV and AIDS Medical Case Management are available to serve the needs of patients and their families. The team acts as a link to the community and can provide referrals to other service providers. The aim of the team is to coordinate treatment, management and provide follow-up care for patients and their families.

Services for adults with HIV and AIDS
Miami Beach Community Health Center, Inc. provides HIV/AIDS care services include counseling, testing, and linkage to services; Medical Case Management; Individual and group psychosocial support interventions; outreach services; diagnosis and treatment of HIV disease; prophylaxis and treatment of opportunistic infections and related conditions; dental care for those who are living with HIV/AIDS, pharmacy; and referrals for clinical trials and specialty care.

Services for children with HIV
An HIV positive mother can transmit the virus to her unborn baby during pregnancy or at the moment of birth. A doctor should see babies of HIV positive mothers and blood tests should be performed regularly. The center makes the services of specially trained pediatricians available. The center strives to meet the needs of a mother and child and can provide referrals to other providers should the need of a mother.

The following centers offer services to people with HIV/AIDS who live in Miami-Dade County:

  • Acción -- (305) 672-1704
  • Body Positive -- (305) 576-1111
  • Cure Aids Now -- (305) 375-0400
  • HRS -- (305) 377-5022
  • Health Crisis Network -- (305) 751-7751
  • HAPMO -- (305) 374-8422
  • HOPWA (OCS) -- (305) 795-1562
  • Legal Services of Miami -- (305) 576-0080
  • Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual Center -- (305) 531-3666
  • Lock Towns (moving) -- (305) 623-0590
  • Miami Heart Institute (Spec. Imm. Unit) -- (305) 674-3147
  • P.E.T. Center -- (305) 538-0525
  • PWAC -- (305) 573-6010
  • Planned Parenthood -- (305) 441-2022
  • S.H.E. Center for Women -- (305) 895-5555
  • Veterans Administration (Spec. Imm. Clinic) -- (305) 324-3267
  • Village South -- (305) 573-3784