October News from the 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.

SFAN’s October meeting focused on upcoming changes to Ryan White Care (RWC), the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), and Housing Opportunities for People With AIDS (HOPWA).

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) open enrollment period begins this November. An unknown number of current AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) clients will be transitioned onto the ACA Marketplaces during this Open Enrollment. Joey Wynn, Chair of SFAN, reported that he has not yet received documentation on the how this coming transition will occur. Wynn did report that the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) has developed a series of factsheets, called “Capsules” that show how ADAP works with the ACA marketplace plans.

Interested people can view these capsules at http://bit.ly/1s5snIK. The Department of Health has also developed a PowerPoint slideshow on how ADAP and the ACA work together (http://bit.ly/1twoqkG).

According to this PowerPoint, not all clients will be selected for this transition. Those ADAP clients not selected for this transition will continue to receive the same services as they currently do under ADAP.

Wynn also reported on the U.S. Conference on AIDS (USCA), held in San Diego from September 10 to September 15. He mentioned several major themes. Transgender issues had a much stronger presence and focus at this conference. A trans plenary drew over a thousand attendees. More major decisions are being made at the state level rather than the federal level. As only about 6,000 people have begun to take PrEP, the conference focused on its slow update.

Mario DeSantis, also attended the USCA. He reported on the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) track. The conference stressed the coming integration of HOPWA with Ryan White Care (RWC). In the future HOPWA clients will have to maintain registration in both RWC and HOPWA. At present, however, HOPWA and RWC differ in their income eligibility criteria. In RWC, individual income determines eligibility but in HOPWA household income does. DeSantis said that the local HOPWA program had not yet developed a policy of what to do with clients who are not eligible for RWC but are eligible for HOPWA.

While HOPWA has remained largely unchanged since it first began in the early 1990s, life for people with HIV has changed greatly. Congress originally intended HOPWA as temporary housing support for people with HIV rather than as lifetime housing support. With the introduction of anti-retroviral therapy in the mid-90s, people with HIV began to live longer lives. The temporary nature of HOPWA housing aid no longer matched the reality of people’s lives. As people infected with HIV began to live longer and other people become infected with HIV, the pool of people needing HOPWA services kept increasing. In addition the Great Recession of the last few years pushed more people into needing services.  As a result of these trends, HOPWA has to change to ensure that the “temporary” nature of its aid continues.

Announcements: Children’s Diagnostic and Treatment Center will be hosting an Art Exhibit and Silent Auction on December 5, 2014 from 8:30 to 9 p.m. at 201 SW 5th Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Transgender 101 training will occur on October 23 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Hagen Park, Wilton Drive.

Next SFAN Meeting: Friday, November 7 at 10:00 a.m., at the Holy Cross Healthplex, 1000 NE 56th Street, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33334. Newcomers are encouraged to attend.


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