January Report from South Florida AIDS Network

The South Florida AIDS Network (SFAN) functions as the networking/advisory body for the Ryan White Care (RWC), Part B grant in Broward County. Its monthly meetings are open to the public

This meeting consisted of reports, followed by a presentation on Broward Addiction Recovery Center (BARC).

Neil Walker, Broward County RWC, reported on its current social media campaigns. These campaigns include public service announcements on Channel 4 and social media. These social media campaigns are located on Facebook (Broward Ryan White), Twitter (@get care Broward), YouTube (Get Care Broward), and a Hotline (954-357-9797).

Broward Addiction Recovery Center (BARC) had a $150,000 contract to provide residential and detoxification services to RWC clients. In the past BARC had failed to serve the number of RWC clients required by its RWC contract. As a result, its budget has been reduced to $100,000. Some SFAN members had reported difficulties with getting their clients admitted. BARC has since decided to send a representative to SFAN to resolve some of these issues.

Andrea Pollack, BARC, reported that this agency serves indigent substance users throughout Broward.

Detoxification refers to a medically supervised withdrawal from drugs. According to Pollack, not all drugs require a medically supervised detoxification, but alcohol, benzodiazepines, and heroin may require it. Withdrawal from these drugs can result in seizures or other serious complications. A medical examination will determine if a given user requires a medically supervised detoxification. The detoxification program lasts for five to twelve days, depending upon the medically stability of the client. If a client is too sick for the BARC detoxification program, the client will be referred to Broward General Hospital.

Pollack reported that the detoxification program has only thirty-four beds. These beds are located in two sex-segregated wards. Patients in a sex-segregated ward lack privacy. Like the “bathroom issue,” sex-segregated wards can become another flashpoint for transgender rights and access. Unlike the “bathroom issue,” this flashpoint occurs in a chronically underfunded and highly stigmatized context, involving highly vulnerable and marginalized people on all sides.

The intake involves an assessment of “comfort” with that transgender client in that sex-segregated ward. If the assessment of “comfort” results in a determination that the transgender client would be “uncomfortable,” Pollack said that BARC would refer that client to Broward General Hospital. BARC has plans to move into a new facility that will admit patients in the fall of 2017. As this new facility will have private rooms, transgender clients should not have to face this problem in the future.

Pollack responded to charges that clients faced admission difficulties at BARC. She stressed that BARC does not have the capacity to serve all indigent substance users needing its services. Joey Wynn, SFAN Chair, pointed out that SFAN members would generally use case managers to refer clients to BARC. Pollack stated that case manager referrals would be most helpful.

Broward HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report

From January through November, a noticeable difference emerged in age distribution by race in Broward. More young Blacks, than Whites or Latinos, were being diagnosed with HIV (see chart “New HIV Cases In Broward Jan to Nov 2015”).

Announcements

February 5, 2016, the Black AIDS Institute will host The Broward County PrEP Summit from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Airport and Cruise Port Hotel, 1825 Griffin Rd, Dania. To register go to www.broward-prep.eventbrite.com.

Broward House is offering tests for syphilis, penile gonorrhea, and penile chlamydia at 2800 North Andrews Ave.

Next SFAN Meeting: Friday, February 12, 2016, at 10:00 a.m., at the Holy Cross Healthplex, 1000 NE 56th Street, Ft. Lauderdale. Newcomers are encouraged to attend.

To see the full Broward HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, please visit http://broward.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/infectious-disease-services/hiv-aids/hiv-aids-surveillance/_documents/11-2015.pdf


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