The South Florida AIDS Network (SFAN) held their monthly meeting on June 6. It functions in three ways:

1. To coordinate planning for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) and the non-medical components of Ryan White Care

2. To network and coordinate activities among HIV service providers, consumers, and the HIV infected/affected communities

3. To disseminate HIV information. Meetings are held monthly and newcomers are encouraged to attend and to join.

Below is a report from that meeting.

Ann Mercer presented data showing expenditures and participation in Ryan White Care (RWC) over the last year (April to March). Three components of RWC served the largest number of clients:

1. Non-Medical Case Management (5,195 clients)

2. Medical Transportation (1,270 clients); and 3) Medication Co-Pays (229 clients).   At the end of April, the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) had enrolled 4,144 clients, with 80 percent having a suppressed viral load.

At the end of March 2014, however, 17,318 people in Broward were living with HIV infection. The 4,144 enrolled in ADAP represent about 24 percent of those 17,318 people living with HIV. This 24 percent refers to the HIV infected who rely on the public sector for HIV care; it does not include the unknown number who rely on the private sector. These figures, however, are consistent with estimates of low rate in Florida of the HIV infected taking HIV meds (36 percent).

Bisiola Fortune-Evans presented on services for women and children. From January 2014 through April, the Ryan White Care programs for women and children observed 55 pregnancies, with 28 babies exposed to HIV, but none born infected with HIV.

At this meeting, Latinos Salud (2330 Wilton Drive) joined SFAN as a member organization, and its representatives discussed their agency. It has three major components:

1. Somos, a group for 18-30 year olds

2. Juntos a group for people 25 and older

3. Linkage, services for people already infected with HIV. Latinos Salud also offers a life coaching program, English and Spanish classes, and free testing for HIV, syphilis, clap (gonorrhea), chlamydia, and hepatitis C. For more information call 954-765-6239

Mario DeSantis of Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) reported that some funds are available for those veterans living with HIV, needing help with mortgages and rents. Interested veterans should call Pablo Calvo of the United Way at 954-308-9263.

Representatives of Salix Pharmaceuticals presented on Fulyzaq (crofelemer) a new FDA approved anti-diarrhea medication, developed for people infected with HIV. According to Joey Wynn, the most common reason people stop taking their HIV meds is diarrhea, a frequent side effect of HIV meds.

The Drug Fulyzaq (Crofelemer) has worked well with HIV meds and showed few side effects. It reduced watery stools from a median of 17 per week to a median of 2 or less per week.

One member said that some of her clients had had problems with the insurance purchased under the Affordable Care Act. Lisa Agate reported that under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), people with complex medical conditions such as HIV infection can still switch their plan, if their current plan fails to fit with their condition. If people infected with HIV are dissatisfied with their health insurance plan obtained under the ACA, they can contact Lisa Agate at 954-561-9681 ext. 1227.

National HIV Testing Day will occur on June 27, 2014

Next Meeting: July 11, 2014 at 10 a.m. at the Holy Cross Healthplex, 1000 NE 56th Street (at Dixie), Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33334.