South Florida AIDS Network April Meeting 

This article discusses two meetings. First, it reports on the HIV Planning Council (HIV-PC) meeting of March 28. Second, it reports on the South Florida AIDS Network (SFAN) meeting of April 5.

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

The HIV-PC meeting

The HIV-PC approved service delivery standards for two programs. The AIDS Pharmaceutical Assistance program differs from AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). It provides short-term coverage for those meds for which ADAP does not provide coverage. The Emergency Financial Assistance program provides one-time or short-term urgent help for RWC clients.

Lobbyist Kareem Murphy submitted a written report on Trump’s proposed 2020 budget. In that budget, RWC and ADAP would see neither increases nor decreases. Other HIV programs, however, would see changes.

Trump has proposed an increase of $291 million in his “Ending the HIV Epidemic Plan.” This would include funds for PrEP, HIV testing, and the Minority AIDS Initiative. It would increase funds for areas labeled high-need areas as well as for HIV programs at community health centers.

Two areas would bear the brunt of these proposed cuts. The proposed budget would cut $63 million from Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA). It would also cut $1.3 billion from the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). That program provides most of the funding for AIDS treatment and prevention in Africa.

Over all, Trump’s proposal would cut 12 percent from discretionary domestic spending. HIV programs tend to have support in both parties. Spending bills have to begin in the House, which the Democrats now control. As a result, this budget will be greatly rewritten. The public will have a much better idea of an actual budget when Congress starts to debate spending bills in May.

The SFAN Meeting

Serena Cook, RWC-FL DOH Broward, reported that RWC-FL DOH Broward has begun outreach to agencies about the Emergency Financial Assistance program. If RWC clients have urgent financial emergencies, they should call 954-467-4705. 

Wismy Cius, RWC-FL DOH Broward, reported on streamlining the dispensing of drugs from the DOH pharmacy to RWC clients without insurance. In the past, these clients had to go to the DOH pharmacy to obtain a 30-day supply. They now can obtain a 90-day supply and/or have their meds sent to their home. Clients will no longer have to take time off from work to pick up their meds. 

Jennifer Pace, of the Florida Department of Health HIV/AIDS section, called into this meeting from Tallahassee. She discussed the bilingual, multi-media “Protect yourself” campaign. It focuses on PrEP and testing, using billboards, digital media, websites, social media, and public events. Its social media posts have garnered 85 million impressions. The campaign focuses on ethnic, gender, linguistic, and sexual minorities at risk for HIV.

Alex Barros, community liaison for Gilead, discussed a new website “Stop the Virus.” This site has HIV educational videos in English and Spanish. These videos can educate people about treatment and prevention and what an undetectable viral load means, among other topics. This site also has a link to a similar site for professionals. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/2URGyKf

Holy Cross Hospital now has a free and bilingual diabetes prevention program. For more information call 954-383-9419 or visit www.holycrossdpp.com.

Next SFAN Meeting: Friday, May 3, at 10:00 a.m. at Holy Cross Healthplex, 1000 NE 56th St., Fort Lauderdale. SFAN welcomes newcomers.

Next HIV-PC meeting: Thursday April 25 at 9:30 a.m. at Broward Government Center, Room GC430, 115 S. Andrews Ave.

 


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