Nikki Fried slams Rick Scott for turning away HIV funding while governor

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HIV AIDS TESTING

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 7: A client places an oral swab into a solution to complete an HIV test during a free HIV testing event at by the Whitman-Walker Health February 7, 2012 in Washington, DC. Whitman-Walker Health held the event to observe National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried is addressing reports that say former Gov. Rick Scott turned away millions in federal funding for the HIV crisis in Florida.

The investigation released earlier this month detailed how the Scott administration blocked $70 million in federal funds to combat HIV during his time as governor.

According to the report, the Florida Department of Health left $54 million unspent between 2014 and 2017. It was originally meant to be disbursed to low-income HIV patients for prescription drug reimbursements.

During those five years, Florida had the highest number of new HIV diagnoses.

Fried tweeted her response to the report on HIV Awareness Day.

Throughout the five years, new cases of HIV diagnoses slowly crept up from 4,498 in 2014 to 4,783 in 2017, which is the most recent data available.

New HIV diagnosis per year in Florida

Hover over the bar to see the exact number.

Source: CDC

By 2017, Florida had thirteen percent of all of the HIV diagnoses in the country.

The number continues to rise, with the Florida Department of Health saying there were 4,906 new HIV diagnoses just last year.

Early this year, President Donald Trump announced a goal to end the HIV epidemic – which more than 1.1 million Americans live with – in the United States within 10 years.

The administration hopes to reduce new HIV infections in the United States by 75 percent in five years and by 90 percent by 2030.

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