This article summarizes the recent meetings of all three HIV planning, advisory, and networking bodies in Broward County. While distinct, these three meetings covered much of the same material. All three bodies have open meetings and welcome new people.
On May 1, 2017, Broward began a same-day Test-and-Treat program. Amy Newton (Broward Regional Health Planning Council) and Joshua Rodriquez (Florida Department of Health Broward) discussed it. This program should reduce the treatment initiation gap. That gap refers to the time between receiving an HIV-positive test result and beginning antiretroviral treatment (ART).
People can now choose to receive 30-days of ART on the same day that they receive an HIV-positive test result. Prior to this program, people had to wait weeks before receiving ART. Community advocate, David Runkle, with just four T-cells and stage-4 cancer, had to wait twelve weeks to begin ART.
A test site that also provides RWC services can offer the 30-day ART supply “in-house.” For most other test sites, the Florida Department of Health Broward Ryan White Care (FL-DOH-Broward-RWC) will transport someone from their testing site to a treatment site.
Dr Jeffrey Beal (FL-DOH Tallahassee) has set a goal of a 30-minute average for this treatment initiation gap. Same-day Test-and-Treat programs are beginning in Broward, Jacksonville, Miami-Dade, Orlando, Palm Beach, and Tampa. Dr. Beal thought that Broward and Miami-Dade could implement Test-and-Treat in community-based organizations.
Rodriquez reported that Florida Blue had cancelled some people’s insurance, despite RWC having already paid Florida Blue. FL-DOH is trying to work out this problem. RWC clients with concerns should contact their case manager.
Joey Wynn, South Florida AIDS Network (SFAN) Chair, discussed federal issues. Wynn reported that the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) emerged unscathed in the proposed budget. Other programs, however, faced severe proposed cuts. He emphasized the need to act strategically, “It’s going to get rougher, and we have four hard years ahead.” Wynn expressed anger that out-of-state activists had pressured Florida representatives. He felt that they should have discussed strategy with local activists first.
At SFAN, Hilary McQuie of Health GAP discussed the funding gap in global AIDS work. Health GAP works to end the 7 billion dollar gap between funding and need. About 80 percent of all people with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa. Globally, about 51 percent of all people with HIV still lack access to treatment. Trump has proposed massive cuts to funding international HIV programs. These proposed cuts would prevent more people from accessing HIV treatments.
The Florida Department of Health has named Emilio Aponteseirra Paretti as the new Coordinator for Men who have Sex with Men in Broward County.
Health GAP will host a presentation on AIDS activism in Africa at the World AIDS Museum, //www.google.com/maps/place/World+AIDS+MUSEUM+AND+Educational+Centeremail@example.com,-80.130248,16z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x73dace6d52842830?hl=en-US">1201 NE 26th St. Suite 11, on June 6, at 7:30 p.m.
For more information on the Broward HIV Planning Council, http://www.brhpc.org/programs/hiv-planning-council/
For more information on the Broward HIV Prevention Planning Council, please visit http://browardgreaterthan.org/broward-county-hiv-prevention-planning-council-bchppc/.
Next SFAN Meeting: Friday, June 2, 2017 at 10 a.m., at the Holy Cross Healthplex, 1000 NE 56th Street, Ft. Lauderdale. SFAN welcomes newcomers.