SFAN: July Report from HIV Planning Bodies

This article reports on two meetings. First, it reports on that of the HIV Planning Council (HIV-PC). Second, it reports on that of the South Florida AIDS Network (SFAN).

The Broward HIV Planning Council (HIVPC) oversees the Ryan White Care (RWC) Program of Broward (RWC-Broward or Part A). The South Florida AIDS Network (SFAN) advises the RWC program of the Florida Department of Health in Broward (RWC-FL DOH Broward or Part B).

The HIVPC met on June 27, 2019

FL DOH Broward presented a report on the increase in Hepatitis A cases in Broward. Fecal-oral contact can spread Hep A. This includes rimming and failing to wash hands after using the bathroom. Gay and bi men are at high risk for contracting Hep A. Other high-risk groups include intravenous drug users, and household contacts of people living with Hep A. Also at risk for Hep A, are people without access to clean water such as the homeless.

Symptoms of Hep A include stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, light stool, as well as yellowed skin and eyes. About 70 percent of people with Hep A will have symptoms. The infection lasts between two and six months.

Vaccination prevents Hep A. Other prevention techniques include dental dams and 20-seconds of hand scrubbing. FL DOH is offering free Hep A vaccinations for high risk groups, such as gay and bi men. People can obtain these free vaccines at a walk-in clinic, 2421 SW 6th Ave, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954- 467-4705 for more information.

Leonard Jones, RWC-Broward, discussed the federal “Ending the Epidemic Plan.” He stressed that this new plan has not replaced the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS). This new plan supplements the Obama-era strategy.

This new plan focusses on 48 counties with high numbers of new HIV cases. Seven Florida counties are among those 48: Broward, Duval, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Pinellas, and Orange.

This plan has several components: (1) diagnose and rapidly initiate treatment to suppress HIV viral load, (2) employ PrEP and syringe services programs to prevent new infections, (3) respond quickly to potential outbreaks of new HIV infections, and (4) get needed prevention and treatment services to people who need them.

SFAN met on July 12, 2019

Serena Cook, RWC-FL DOH Broward, reported on its demographics. She reported the number of racial, gender, and transgender people using RWC services. She was unable to report on sexual orientation data, however. She said that next month she would have demographics on sexual orientation.

More RWC clients, 582, received daily bus passes than any other service unit. The second most used service item was medication with 183 clients. The third most used service item was health insurance.

Dr. Lindsay Israel-Gaines, Success TMS, presented on transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). TMS delivers a magnetic pulse to a part of the brain that is underactive in depression. Medicare and most insurance plans will pay for this. Medicaid will not. Insurance companies may require prior treatment failure. Call 954-351-8493 for more information.

Dr. Jana Jaffee, Broward House, stressed that Broward House cannot take walk-ins. People have to make appointments.

Patty Falco, Broward House, discussed a new program, Clear Paths, for substance abuse and mental health services. This program does not require sobriety or abstinence from drugs. Clients select their own goals. The program provides testing for Hep C, HIV, and other sexually transmitted diseases. Screening is necessary before entry into the program. Call 954-568-7373 for more information.

Next SFAN Meeting: Friday, Aug. 2, at 10 a.m. at Holy Cross Healthplex, 1000 NE 56thSt., Fort Lauderdale. SFAN welcomes newcomers.

Next HIVPC meeting: Thursday, Aug. 22, at 9:30 a.m. at Broward Government Center, Room GC-430, 115 S. Andrews Ave.