Column: June, Report from HIV Planning Bodies

Via SFAN

This article reports on three meetings. First, it reports on the meeting of the HIV Planning Council (HIV-PC). That body oversees the Ryan White Care (RWC) Program of Broward (RWC-Broward) or RWC-Part-A.

Second, it reports on the meeting of the HIV Prevention Planning Council (HIVPPC). That body coordinates HIV Prevention. 

Third, it reports on the meeting of the South Florida AIDS Network (SFAN). That body advises the RWC program of the Florida Department of Health in Broward (RWC-FL DOH Broward), or RWC-Part-B.

The HIV Planning Council met on May 23. 

Joshua Rodriquez reported that Broward has greatly improved in linking newly diagnosed people to care. In 2017, only 42 percent were linked to treatment within 30 days. In the first quarter of 2019, that percentage had increased to 90 percent

According to Rodriquez, Clients are not using the online recertification for RWC-FL DOH Broward. People can re-enroll online, provided their time out of the system has been less than 12 months.

Chris Leonard reported on Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA). Three agencies administer HOPWA services: Broward House, Mount Olive Development Corporation, and Broward Regional Health Planning Council. 

The HIV Prevention Planning Council met on June 6. 

Broward-DOH staff presented a zip code map of Broward County from AIDSvu.org. Each Zip Code was shaded to reflect the number of people living with HIV in that Zip Code. People living with HIV are concentrated along a North-South Axis from Pompano Beach to Dania Beach. They also are concentrated in a narrow and short West to East axis from Lauderhill to AIA.

This meeting had an open discussion. Lorenzo Robinson, of the Pride Center, asked if any agencies specifically focused on HIV Prevention among Black people. According to responses in the room, no agency specifically focuses on HIV prevention among Black people. While all agencies provide services to everyone, including Blacks, no agency has an HIV prevention program that focuses on HIV prevention among Blacks. Two agencies have a Latino focus and one agency has a LGBT focus. Robinson and others worried that Black people were getting lost.

In Broward, the epidemic differs among Black people. Among all racial groups, including Blacks, the majority of cases of HIV arise from gay sex. Only among Black people, however, does straight sex emerge as a major risk factor.

The South Florida AIDS Network met on June 7. 

The Florida Department of Health is distributing a survey to RWC clients. The results of this survey will be used to determine future funding for RWC-FL DOH Broward, or RWC-Part-B.

Mara Michniewicz, HIV/AIDS section, phoned in a report on HIV Prevention in Florida. 

Michniewicz reported that the state was using molecular surveillance to identify transmission clusters. That surveillance involves analyzing viral DNA to identify people who share related HIV viruses.

One person from the audience questioned her about that technique and HIV criminalization. Michniewicz responded that confidentiality agreements prevented the Florida Department of Health from sharing this data. She also said that molecular surveillance cannot detect who passed the virus to whom. It only shows a relationship among individual viral strains.

Next SFAN Meeting: Friday, July 12, at 10:00 a.m. at Holy Cross Healthplex, 1000 NE 56thSt., Fort Lauderdale. SFAN welcomes newcomers. 

Next HIVPC meeting: Thursday, June 27, at 9:30 a.m. at Broward Government Center, Room GC430, 115 S. Andrews Ave.

Announcements

The AHF Wellness Center - Broward offers free STD testing and treatment at 750 SE 3rdAve., Fort Lauderdale. 954-767-0273 

On July 19 from 7 to 10 p.m., the Community Empowerment Committee of the HIV PC will host a Fashion Show at Art Serve, 1350 Sunrise Blvd. Fort Lauderdale.


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