Each month HIV service providers and members of the HIV infected and affected communities meet to exchange information and gain knowledge about HIV at the monthly meeting of the South Florida AIDS Network (SFAN). Three major themes emerged at the December meeting.
Free 31-day Bus Passes
As of November 1, 2013, the free bus pass program of Ryan White Care has increased the maximum eligible income to include people with incomes at or below 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level – $45,960 yearly income for a single person. In order to receive these bus passes, a person must provide proof of the following:
1) HIV positive diagnosis
2) Residence in Broward County
3) Annual income at or below 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level
4) Current certification for Ryan White Care eligibility
5) Ineligibility for Medicaid
6) Exchange of the used pass to obtain a new one
7) Having at least two Ryan White Care related scheduled appointments per month, for example pharmacy, food bank, substance abuse treatment, dental, legal, eligibility, or medical appointments.
New Anti-Retroviral Available
Lynn Albertelli presented information on Tivicay, a newly approved anti-retroviral, specifically an integrase inhibitor. Depending on treatment history and current drug regimens, the FDA recommends a once or twice daily dosage of 50 mg of Tivicay. In either case, people should take Tivicay with other anti-retrovirals. ADAP, Medicaid and Medicare will pay for Tivicay.
In clinical trials, 2 percent or less of participants reported insomnia and headaches. People considering Tivicay should talk to their doctor about possible drug interactions that minimize the effectiveness of Tivicay. People taking Tikosyn (dofetilide), used to treat irregular heartbeats, should not take Tivicay. Serious health problems can occur if people take these drugs together.
World AIDS Day
Two World AIDS day events are scheduled for Broward.
December 1, 2013 at the Christian Community Church of God, 2052 NW 49th Ave, Lauderhill, from 6 to 8 p.m. Organizers stressed that this was a LGBT inclusive church.
December 3, 2013 at Hagen Park from 4 to 7 PM, 2020 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors
Next meeting takes place December 6 at 10 a.m. at the Holy Cross Healthplex, Dorothy Mangurian Comprehensive Women’s Center, 1000 NE 56th Street Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33334. These meetings are open to the public and newcomers are encouraged to attend.
Where to find Affordable Care Act Navigators in Broward County
Navigators are people especially trained to help others to enroll in the Affordable Care Act by phone, paper, or the website. Navigators are available at Holy Cross Hospital (www.holy-cross.com/aca or call 954-678-3910). Bilingual (English Spanish and English-Kreyol) navigators are available.
Since January 2013 in Broward County, 51.7 percent of all new HIV infections among males occurred among guys over 40. It’s not just young guys getting infected.