This report discusses the monthly meeting of the South Florida AIDS Network (SFAN). SFAN is the advisory for the RWC program of the Florida Department of Health in Broward (FL-DOH RWC).
This meeting discussed changes to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA). It also discussed a new drug to control diarrhea and selected its officers for 2018.
Joey Wynn, SFAN chair, spoke about the current state of PACHA. Six members had resigned in June to protest Trump’s apparent lack of interest in HIV issues. In late December, the Trump Administration sent the remaining sixteen members a letter. In that letter, the administration terminated their participation in PACHA.
In a CNN report, PACHA Executive Director, B. Kaye Hayes, said that the goal of this termination was to “bring in new voices.” Hayes reported that other administrations had done similar things. Their termination letter suggested that the PACHA members reapply for the 2018 term.
Joey Wynn, SFAN Chair, reported that he has applied for a position on PACHA. Wynn argued that people have to talk outside their comfort zone. According to Wynn, we no longer have the luxury of talking only with those people with whom we agree.
Wynn said, “We are facing serious issues.” He urged people to follow two groups that affect health policy. First, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) runs critical programs that pay for HIV services. The CMS administers Medicare, Medicaid, the Health Insurance Marketplace, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Second, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) holds hearings and discusses all federal health policy legislation. What these groups do will have a major impact on HIV policy.
The AIDS Institute will report on PACHA and other HIV policy issues at the February SFAN meeting. This report should provide the most up to date information on threats to HIV policy.
Mike Catala, of Napo Pharmaceuticals, discussed a new anti-diarrhea drug, Mytesi. The drug treats diarrhea in adults living with HIV and on antiretroviral therapy. People take Mytesi in pill form twice daily, with or without food. The FDA has approved Mytesi and most insurers will cover it.
SFAN re-elected its officers. Joey Wynn will continue as Chair, Gary Hensley as Vice-Chair, and Trudy Love as Secretary. In 2018, these officers will mentor others who can then move into leadership. Gary Hensley will mentor Alexis Howard. Trudy Love will mentor Nancy DuLisse. No has yet volunteered to be mentored for the chair position.
Wynn reported that the Florida lost $2 million dollars of Hep C funding. While doctors can now cure Hep C, the high cost of Hep C drugs creates problems accessing those drugs.
The Pride Center announced that a new Life Program for people living with HIV will start in February. The Pride Center will host a program on Meth and HIV on February 6, from 7 p.m.to 9 p.m. On February 8 from 7 to 9 p.m., the Pride Center will host Black Arts Awakening, an art show.
To follow Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, please visit https://www.cms.gov/
To follow the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), please visit https://www.congress.gov/committee/senate-health-education-labor-and-pensions/sshr00.
Black Treatment AIDS Network (BTAN) meets the 1st Tuesday of every month from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. BTAN meets in the Tobacco Auditorium of the Administration Building at the Florida Department of Health Broward, 2421 SW 6th Ave, Fort Lauderdale.
Next SFAN Meeting: Friday, February 2, 2018 at 10:00 a.m., at the Holy Cross Healthplex, 1000 NE 56th Street, Ft. Lauderdale. SFAN welcomes newcomers.
Follow Sean McShee on Twitter @SeanMcShee