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South Florida AIDS Network June Report

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This report discusses three meetings.  First, it discusses the monthly meeting of the South Florida AIDS Network (SFAN). At the SFAN meeting, Kim Saiswick (Holy Cross Hospital) reported on the meeting of the Florida HIV/AIDS Comprehensive Planning Network (FCPN).  SFAN advises the local Department of Health (DOH) on Ryan White Care in Broward.  FCPN advises the state Department of Health (FL-DOH) on Florida Ryan White Care. Thirdly, this report discusses a Broward town hall meeting about future HIV prevention funding. 

South Florida AIDS Network (SFAN), June 1, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale

Josh Rodriquez (FL-DOH-Broward) reported that PrEP is now available to insured and uninsured people. On June 1, the Wellness Center, a sexually transmitted disease clinic, has begun to offer their clients PrEP. The Pharmacy Assistance Program will pay for PrEP medications for the uninsured. FL-DOH will pay for PrEP laboratory tests for the uninsured.  The Wellness Center, 700 SE 3rd Ave., Suite 200, is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. People who walk-in between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. can leave with a 10-day prescription for PrEP.

Florida HIV/AIDS Comprehensive Planning Network (FCPN), April 18 to 19, 2018 in Tampa.  

The Florida legislature failed to pass a bill to expand Miami’s Syringe Service Program (Needle Exchange) to the entire state.  Miami’s Syringe Service Program will continue with no changes.

Doctors in Miami-Dade and Broward will be able to write 90-day prescriptions for AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) medications. Eligibility is restricted to those patients who have achieved a sustained undetectable HIV viral load for at least 24 months. This program should expand to the entire state by the end of the year.

Florida has an estimated 100,300 transgender people living in the state.  Most transgender people live in Broward, Hillsboro, Miami-Dade, Orange, and Pinellas and Counties.

Laura Reeves (HIV/AIDS Section FL-DOH) reported on indicators of progress toward Florida’s goals to contain HIV. Only two indicators are moving in the right direction.  The indicators concerning “people with suppressed HIV viral load” and “people ever having been linked to HIV care” are moving in the right direction.  The data indicates that Florida will fail to meet the goals for the other indicators.  These indicators concern “disparities in new diagnoses of HIV infections,” “knowledge of accurate HIV status,” and “retention in HIV care.”

HIV Prevention Funding Town Hall, June 6, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale

Future HIV Prevention in Florida will emphasize bio-medical interventions. Florida will be promoting increased HIV testing and PrEP use.  The state will also increase its efforts to get HIV treatment drop-outs back into care.

Janelle Taveras (FL-DOH-Broward) discussed one new technique, molecular surveillance.  Using this technique, epidemiologists can identify clusters of viral transmission through the analysis of the DNA of the virus. One person in the audience raised concerns about how this technique could affect civil liberties and HIV criminalization.

Some people in the audience raised questions about the effectiveness of FL-DOH-Broward’s Transgender Program. While the program has existed for 18 years, the public has seen no data on its effectiveness.

Announcements

The 2018 United States Conference on AIDS (USCA 2018) will take place in Orlando, Florida, from September 6 through September 9, 2018.  To find out more about USCA 2018, please visit http://bit.ly/2yoY5jd. Youth and group registration discounts are available.

National HIV testing day is June 27.  Walgreens and Florida DOH are cooperating with free HIV testing at many Walgreens facilities.  To find out where these tests are available, please visit http://bit.ly/2JY6i26.

Follow Sean McShee on Twitter @SeanMcShee


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