The South Florida AIDS Network (SFAN) functions as the networking and advisory body for the Florida Department of Health (FL-DOH) Ryan White Care (RWC) program in Broward County. Newcomers and visitors are welcome to its meetings.
Kim Saiswick, chair of the Florida Comprehensive Planning Network (FCPN), provided SFAN with a report of the most recent FCPN meeting. FCPN has functioned as the statewide advisory body for the FL-DOH RWC program. Now that Florida has integrated its HIV prevention and treatment planning, FCPN has changed. HIV service providers, prevention workers, advocates, and the FL-DOH now exchange information and feedback at FCPN meetings.
Report from FCPN
During 2016, males made up 76 percent of ADAP clients, and females 23 percent. Five ADAP clients were transgender males and 184 were transgender females.
Florida-DOH has set an ambitious goal. After six months in ADAP, 90 percent of ADAP clients should achieve viral suppression. Only those ADAP clients with health insurance, however, were able to achieve this goal.
Successful HIV treatment consists of viral suppression, defined as having less than 200 viral copies per milliliter of blood. It maintains the ADAP client’s health and significantly minimizes transmission risk. At present, no consensus exists about transmission risk for people with a suppressed viral load. A growing number of researchers, providers, and advocates have argued that a consistently suppressed viral load prevents transmission.
Saiswick discussed the Florida Patient Needs Assessment. Respondents reported the following unmet needs: dental/oral health care, case management, health insurance, food-bank, and housing assistance. When compared with the previous needs assessment, the number of people unsure of where to get services had doubled.
People at FCPN also discussed the statewide rollout of Test and Treat programs. Under this program, people can choose to begin HIV treatment within 24-hours of receiving an HIV-positive test result. Six metropolitan areas in Florida have the highest HIV rates: Broward, Jacksonville, Miami-Dade, Orlando, Tampa, and West Palm Beach. All six areas now have functioning Test and Treat Programs.
Test and Treat programs in South Florida
At FCPN, Karen Villamiazar reported that 38 out of 50 clients in the Miami-Dade Test and Treat program have achieved viral suppression. Clients averaged 58 days to achieve viral suppression. This program identified five acute HIV cases. All five have now suppressed the virus.
The acute HIV phase occurs immediately after initial infection and presents the greatest risk for HIV transmission.
Janelle Traveras presented preliminary data from Broward’s Test and Treat program. From May 1 to May 26, sixty-six people had enrolled in its program. HIV testing diagnosed thirty new cases of HIV infection. Thirty-six had been previously diagnosed, but were out-of-treatment at the time of testing.
Taveras announced that Broward DOH would be hiring PrEP Navigators. These navigators will help people seeking PrEP to obtain it. In addition, these navigators can link people at high risk for HIV infection to other needed services.
Neil Walker, Broward-RWC, reported that Broward-RWC had 5 percent of its budget left unspent by the end of FY2016. Broward-RWC will not have to return this amount.
Walker also reported that enrollment in Broward-RWC declined in FY 2016 by 8.5 percent. He attributed this to increased enrollment in ACA insurance programs. Broward-RWC clients had a viral suppression rate of 81 percent.
June 24 from 11 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The Unity Day Health Fair at Williams Memorial CME Church, 644-646 NW 13 Terraces, Fort Lauderdale.
June 27 is National HIV Testing Day.
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Next SFAN Meeting: Friday, July 14, 2017 at 10 a.m., at the Holy Cross Healthplex, 1000 NE 56th Street, Ft. Lauderdale. SFAN welcomes newcomers.