This report combines the monthly meetings of the HIV Planning Council (HIVPC) and the South Florida AIDS Network (SFAN). The HIVPC is the planning body for the Ryan White Care (RWC) Program of Broward County (Broward-RWC). SFAN is the advisory and networking body for the RWC program of the Florida Department of Health in Broward (FL-DOH RWC). Both meetings welcome newcomers.
Broward RWC- HIVPC
On July 27, the HIV Planning Council approved budget amounts for service categories for the fiscal year that will begin March 1, 2018 (FY 2018). The HIVPC has to begin working with RWC providers now for its FY 2018 programs. The U.S. Congress, however, has failed to pass its FY 2018 budget. Given federal time constraints, Congress may have to fund everything at FY 2017 levels. The HIVPC worked under the assumption that funding would remain the same despite some threats.
The Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI) funds eight percent of Broward-RWC, but the House voted to defund the MAI. As of press time, the Senate has yet to vote on a budget. According to Will Spencer of the HIVPC, the proposed defunding of the MAI would be the most significant cut ever to Broward-RWC. If funding levels change, the HIVPC can adjust funding for service categories.
Leonard Jones (Broward RWC) reported on a structural funding issue. Current RWC funding formulas follow place-of-testing rather than place-of-service-delivery. These formulas fail to count for current residence. When someone tests HIV positive for the first time, that city becomes their “HIV home city.” RWC funds would only go to that “HIV home city.”
Josh Rodriquez (FL-DOH RWC) reported on Broward’s Test and Treat program. That program offers people testing HIV-positive same-day antiretroviral therapy. From May 1 to July 21, that program identified 228 HIV-positives. Of those positives, 44.3 percent (101) were new HIV diagnoses. The other 55.7 percent (127) had previously tested HIV-positive, but were not in treatment.
The Florida Department of Health distributed Broward HIV data. Between 2014 and 2015, diagnoses of HIV infection declined slightly among African-American males, who still had the highest number of new diagnoses among males. New HIV diagnoses increased among Latino males. Rates remained stable among whites. Among females, almost all new HIV diagnoses occurred among African-Americans.
FL-DOH also distributed Continuum of Care data for Broward-RWC enrollees. About 81 percent of RWC enrollees had achieved suppressed HIV viral loads.
The South Florida AIDS Network (SFAN) meeting covered much of the same material as the HIVPC.
Riley Johnson and Jens Paul presented on RAD Remedy. This group provides resources for transgender, gender non-conforming, intersex, and queer (TGIQ) people and their care. Johnson is the executive director of RAD Remedy. Local trans activist, Jens Paul, works as a policy consultant. Among its other services, RAD Remedy provides a Yelp-like referral healthcare database for TGIQ people.
Paul argued that providers should meet clients on the client’s terms to keep those clients in-treatment. He called this client-driven care. Paul argued that the quality of care affects the quantity of care. If someone feels mistreated by a provider, they will not return to that provider. For many transgender people, trans care issues matter as much as HIV care issues.
Next SFAN Meeting: Friday, Sept. 8, 2017 at 10 a.m., at the Holy Cross Healthplex, 1000 NE 56th St., Fort Lauderdale. SFAN welcomes newcomers.
HIVPC meetings occur on the last Thursday of the month (Aug. 31) at 9:30 a.m., at the Government Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave, Fort. Lauderdale. For updates or meeting room locations, call 954-561-9681 ext. 1343, or visit http://www.brhpc.org/programs/hiv-planning-council/.
To find out more about RADremedy, please visit www.http://radremedy.org.
Follow Sean McShee on Twitter @SeanMcShee