December 2017 SFAN Report

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This report discusses the monthly meeting of the South Florida AIDS Network (SFAN). SFAN is the advisory for the RWC program of the Florida Department of Health in Broward (FL-DOH RWC). Broward has one other HIV planning body that meets monthly, the HIV Planning Council (HIVPC). The HIVPC is the planning body for the Ryan White Care (RWC) Program of Broward County (Broward-RWC).

This SFAN meeting occurred on World AIDS Day. In honor of World AIDS Day, Joey Wynn, SFAN Chair, presented recognition awards for service to the HIV communities. Lisa Agate, Evelyn Morales, and Shirley Scott received these awards for their years of service.

Serena Cook, FL-DOH RWC, reported on changes to Broward Addiction Recovery Center (BARC)'s residential substance abuse treatment program. Current evidence indicates that a 60-day treatment program produces better outcomes than a 30-day program does. Currently BARC has a 30-day program. At present funding levels, switching to a 60-day treatment program would require that the number of potential clients be cut in half. In order to serve the same number of clients, $30,000 would have to be moved from an underutilized program to this program.

Kim Saiswick, state chair of the Florida HIV/AIDS Comprehensive Planning Network (FCPN), discussed its November meeting. Saiswick reported on what people presented at that meeting. Lorene Maddox said that about 15 percent of people living with HIV in Florida were unaware of their HIV infection.

At the FCPN meeting, Dr. Jeffrey Beale discussed Florida's Test and Treat Program. According to Dr. Beale, 915 people had enrolled in that program. In Broward County, 382 people had enrolled in its Test and Treat program. About 42 percent of all people in Florida in the Treat and Treat program had enrolled in Broward. Saiswick attributed this high rate to Broward's twelve locations. In contrast, Miami-Dade has only one Test and Treat location.

Samantha Sam, ViiV Healthcare, reported on changing ways to maintain HIV viral suppression over a lifetime of HIV infection. About 55 percent of new infections occur among those under 35 years of age. Because of advances in HIV treatment, people infected today may be taking antiretrovirals for 40 years or more. New research indicates that people with stable, suppressed HIV viral loads could benefit from changing their antiretroviral regimen.

Changing drug regimens can lessen chances of developing drug resistant strains of HIV. People can find the side effects of antiretrovirals to be intolerable or dangerous. Some antiretrovirals have dangerous interactions with drug treatments for other conditions. Simplifying a drug regimen can improve adherence.

ViiV and Janssen Pharmaceuticals have developed a two-drug antiretroviral regimen, Juluca. It contains dolutegravir, an integrase inhibitor, and rilpivirine, a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor. The FDA approved Juluca in November of 2017, its first approval of a two-drug antiretroviral regimen. People take Juluca only once per day with a meal. Its most common side effects are diarrhea and headache.

Insurers may not yet cover Juluca, given its recent approval. ViiV may provide bridge financing until insurers begin to cover this drug.

In January, both SFAN and the HIVPC will elect new officers. No one has yet agreed to run for SFAN offices. Raquel Lopes has agreed to run for HIVPC chair. Carla Taylor-Bennett, David Shamer, and H.B. Katz have agreed to run for HIVPC vice chair.

Next SFAN Meeting: Friday, January 5, 2018 at 10:00 a.m., at the Holy Cross Healthplex, 1000 NE 56th Street, Ft. Lauderdale. SFAN welcomes newcomers.

The next HIVPC meeting will occur on January 25 at 9:30 a.m. at 115 S. Andrews Ave. For exact room location, call 954-561-9681 ext. 1343, or visit http://www.brhpc.org/programs/hiv-planning-council/.

Follow Sean McShee on Twitter @SeanMcShee


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