New strain of HIV discovered

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A new strain of HIV hasn't been detected in nearly 20 years. But now, according to CNN.com, scientists at Abbott Laboratories have discovered a new subtype of the virus in the Congo.

for the first time in 20 years, a new strain of HIV has been discovered in the Congo. (WJHG/WECP)

"Primarily in doing my research, it's very similar to the HIV 1 strain," said Valerie Mincey, the President and CEO of BASIC Northwest Florida.

Mincey believes this new strain is no threat to our community. But if it became so, she believes it would be easy to treat.

"It would be no different. The treatments are still very effective for this strain and because of the similarities to what we currently know on the HIV that we have been treating for years and years," said Mincey.

While this strain of HIV isn't in America, Mincey wants people to know if you are living with HIV, there are places you can go to get help.

"We provide services for people who have HIV with medical care, medication, housing assistance, transportation, and so much more," said Mincey.

BASIC also offers free HIV and Hepatitis C testing.

If you feel like you might need these services but don't want to go to BASIC's facility, they'll come to you.

"When people are accessible and at locations that they're comfortable, we believe in taking our service to the community," said Mincey.

Mincey says most importantly, people need to stay informed about the virus and stay safe.

"We're one big community who is looking out for the best interest, well-being, and health of our community as a whole," said Mincey.

If you're interested in supporting BASIC Northwest Florida, you can attend the annual Red Tie Ball.

It's November 23rd from 6-11 p.m. at the Edgewater Resort. Proceeds will go to the program.

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