Posts Tagged ‘Broward HIV/AIDS’

The CDC (Center for Disease Control) released their estimates for HIV infections in the US last week.  

From 2006 to 2009, the number of new infections has remained stable at 50,000/year.

But the number of new infections among MSM (Men who have Sex with Men) have increased.

There has been a 34% increase among young MSM from 2006 to 2009.

There has been a 48% increase among young black MSM (age 13-29).

The CDC estimates that MSM represent 2% of the total US population, but accounted for 61% of all new HIV infections in 2009.

White MSM had the highest number of new infections at 11,400.  Black MSM followed at 10,800 and Hispanic MSM at 6,000.


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The Washington Post reported that treating people with HIV drugs sharply cuts risk of transmission to other people. LINK to Article We’ve been discussing this in the Wednesday group for many years. Lower viral loads reduce risk of transmission. A prvious Swiss study stated that an undetetectable viral load was non-infectious and other studies have stated that viral loads less than 1,500 or even 3,500 are low risk.

HIV drugs sharply cut risk of transmission, study finds
By David Brown, Published: May 12
AIDS researchers announced Thursday that a study conducted in nine countries has proved the long-standing hunch that HIV-infected people on treatment are much less likely to transmit the virus than people who aren’t taking the drugs.

The study, which was stopped early because the results were so dramatic, found that men and women whose sexual partners were infected with the AIDS virus were almost completely protected if the partner took a combination of HIV-suppressing drugs.

The study provides evidence — useful in American cities and African villages — that getting HIV-infected people on treatment early, long before they have symptoms, may be the best strategy for slowing the 30-year-old epidemic. The District has the highest infection rate of any American city, on a par with that of Rwanda.

“This is far beyond expectation. It could completely change the way we are dealing with the epidemic,” said Michel Sidibe, head of UNAIDS, the United Nations’ AIDS program.

“This is data that you can’t ignore,” said Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which paid for the $78 million experiment.

Condoms, behavior change, clean hypodermic needles and a safe blood supply are the chief tools for preventing HIV infection. However, since the arrival of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in 1996, there has been a lot of indirect evidence that treatment is a tool for prevention.

The reason is simple. ART, three or more drugs taken every day, prevents the AIDS virus from replicating, and it rapidly disappears from blood and other bodily fluids that are the usual vehicles for infection.

The idea that treatment could be preventive was seen in studies of “discordant” couples — one partner infected, the other not — in Kenya. Researchers observed that when an infected person was in treatment, the partner was at much less risk of becoming infected. This observation held for whole populations.

Researchers in British Columbia last year reported that the rate of new infection for the entire province declined after a policy of widespread HIV testing and early treatment was adopted.

What was missing was evidence from a randomized, controlled trial — the gold standard of medical research — that treatment had a clearly preventive effect.

The new study enrolled 1,763 couples in five African countries, as well as Brazil, India, Thailand and the United States. Nearly all were heterosexual. The researchers wanted to include large numbers of gay men but were unsuccessful in recruiting them, possibly because they were already convinced that treatment reduces transmission.

All of the volunteers had a CD4 cell count of 350 to 550 cells per cubic millimeter of blood — evidence of mild damage to the immune system.

In half of the couples, the infected person immediately went on ART. In the other half, the medicines weren’t started until the infection became more severe, as evidenced by a fall of the CD4 count below 250. All were advised to use condoms.

Over the next four years, 28 people acquired HIV from their partner. (Gene fingerprinting of the virus revealed that in 11 other cases, people became infected by someone other than their regular partner.) Of those 28 new infections, 27 occurred among couples in which the HIV-infected partner had not started taking antiretroviral drugs at the start of the study. That amounted to a 96 percent reduction in the risk of acquiring HIV in the couples in which the infected partner was on ART.

Significantly, 17 of the 27 infections occurred in couples in which the infected partner’s CD4 count was greater than 350. The World Health Organization’s guidelines call for starting ART when the count dips below 350. This study shows that having a partner whose CD4 count is above that cutoff is no assurance the person won’t transmit the virus.

The leader of the study, Myron Cohen of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said the results are “probably generalizable” to all heterosexuals. But that’s not absolutely certain.

The study marks a further swing of the pendulum back toward the once-popular and later discredited HIV treatment strategy known as “hit hard, hit early.”

Prescribing ART long before an infected person has symptoms or evidence of severe immune system damage was popular until it became clear the drugs could have serious side effects. (They can damage nerves, raise blood cholesterol and change the distribution of body fat). More recent evidence shows that putting off treatment for too long increases the risk of early death.

Although it is now clear that ART protects a person’s partner, what isn’t certain is whether ART benefits the patient when it’s started soon after infection and before the immune system is measurably damaged. A study designed to answer that question recently started but won’t be finished for several years.

Some AIDS experts fear the new study may be used to browbeat newly infected people into starting ART earlier than they might otherwise.

“I can imagine people deciding to get treatment because they are in a relationship and they want to protect the partner. But if a person has a CD4 count of 800, it is wrong to mislead people that they will benefit when we really don’t know,” said Joseph A. Sonnabend, 78, a retired physician and researcher previously affiliated with St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City.

Like many cities with a high AIDS prevalence, the District has an aggressive policy of testing for HIV infection and urging infected people to enter care.

As of Dec. 31, 2008, the most recent year for which data are available, 16,513 city residents were living with HIV. About 3.2 percent of people older than 12 in the city are thought to be infected.

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Poz Magazine had another article on Timothy Brown, The Berlin Patient. Link

Timothy Brown is an American living in Germany. He had both HIV and leukemia. As part of his leukemia treatment, he had to have a bone marrow transplant in 2007. His doctors gave him a transplant from a donor whose cells where resistant to the AIDS virus (CCR5 delta-32 mutation). After his treatment, he stopped taking his HIV medications.

The CCR5 delta-32 mutation is extremely rare. It requires a delta-32 mutation from both parents and only occurs in 1% of the Caucasian population (usually northern and western Europe) and none of the African population. There was no data on other ethnicities.

It was expected that his HIV would mutate to the CXCR4 virus. That didn’t happen. Tests today show that the patient has no viral load, and even the HIV antibodies declined to the point that the patient has no antibody reactivity to HIV core antibodies. In other words, this patient would test HIV-negative.

Although this is very exciting news, the treatment that Brown went through is risky and painful. One third of patients don’t survive. In other words, 33% of people going through this treatment die.

The good news is that we now know that HIV can be cured, not just managed. It opens up new avenues of research, gene therapy, and stem cell treatements.


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The topic this Wednesday January 26,2011 is World AIDS Day.

Mark King will be participating in a conference call with World AIDS Campaign about World AIDS Day 2011.

They want feedback on past WAD themes and challenges, and suggested themes for this year.

– 1) What barriers or problems are there in promoting World AIDS Day?

– 2) What should our message to the public be this year?

-If anyone would like to participate in a survey being done that will help inform this year’s World AIDS Day, please go to http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/worldaidsday2010

Past World AIDS Day Themes, 1988–present:

1988 Communication
1989 Youth
1990 Women and AIDS
1991 Sharing the Challenge
1992 Community Commitment
1993 Act
1994 AIDS and the Family
1995 Shared Rights, Shared Responsibilities
1996 One World. One Hope
1997 Children Living in a World with AIDS
1998 Force for Change: World AIDS Campaign With Young People
1999 Listen, Learn, Live: World AIDS Campaign with Children & Young People
2000 AIDS: Men Make a Difference
2001 I care. Do you?
2002 Stigma and Discrimination
2003 Stigma and Discrimination
2004 Women, Girls, HIV and AIDS
2005 Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise
2006 Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise – Accountability
2007 Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise – Leadership
2008 Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise – Lead – Empower – Deliver
2009 Universal Access and Human Rights
2010 Universal Access and Human Rights

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Paul Hughes Medical Center (Pompano Health Dept) did not receive funding to provide Ryan White medical or case management after February 28, 2011. This is more bad news. This is a loss of a much needed provider. I think very highly of Dr. Samantha Bessega in that clinic. Dr. Kimberly Holding also very well liked there, but she was already leaving. Not sure where she was going. Hopefully good medical practices will get these two excellent doctors.


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Attention all ADAP Clients Also Enrolled in Medicare Part D
NOTE: This applies ONLY to clients
also enrolled in Medicare Part D

The Florida Department of Health has instituted a statewide change in the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) affecting all ADAP medications for clients who are also enrolled in Medicare Part D.

Effective immediately, affected ADAP medications will be dispensed from the Department of Health Central Pharmacy in Tallahassee and not the Broward County Health Department (BCHD) Pharmacy. The Central Pharmacy will fill the prescription and mail it to the BCHD ADAP office in the Fort Lauderdale Health Center (FLHC), 2421 SW 6th Avenue – Fort Lauderdale, 33315. Any concerns with new prescriptions, refills, certifications and recertifications for dually eligible clients will be handled at the ADAP Eligibility Department at FLHC:

• New prescriptions can be dropped off at the FLHC Q-Flow window during regular business hours. Providers (ONLY) can fax new prescriptions to our secured fax line: (954) 467-4861.

• Appointments for certifications and six-month recertifications can be made through the appointment line: (954) 713-3196.

• Refill requests can be called in at (954) 290-2728.

• You will be called when your medication has arrived from the Central Pharmacy. It is important that clients provide staff with the most updated contact phone number(s).

• Times for medication pick-ups: Monday, 8:00am until noon and Thursday,
1:00pm – 5:00pm. Stop at the Q-Flow window and let the receptionist know you
were called for a pick-up.

NOTE: This applies ONLY to clients also enrolled in Medicare Part D

Please don’t wait until you are out of a medication, allow for the extra time to receive the medication from Central Pharmacy.

The BCHD will make every effort to assist you in this process.
Please call (954) 713-3196 with any questions.

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** HELP **
Shout out to all my Ft. Lauderdale friends…I just learned that Poverello Food Panty is having to close until around March due to economy and lack of donations. We have all been blessed in different ways and we all to often “take when we should give” and when it hurts we should “give some more” so let’s help out our community family and drop off an extra $10 or $20, here and there, in can goods or dry goods, buy one and get one free and drop off the free. Or simply make a Tax Deductible Cash Donation ! -RJ

Poverllo provides life-saving food and basic living essentials with the highest degree of understanding, respect and love for individuals living with HIV/AIDS who are living in Broward County and meet specified qualifications for services.

2292 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors, FL 33305

Foodbank – Serving over 875 meals each day!
Monday – Thursday 9 am – 3 pm

So Give what you can.

FYI: The display case in room 200 with the HIV/AIDS memorabilia is on loan from Poverello, so they do support our group.


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The topic this Wednesday 12-22-2010 is the Holidays. How are you handling them? Are you stressed? What are your plans?

In the second half, we will discuss the repeal of Don’t ask, Don’ tell and what it means to you.

15 Minutes prior to the meeting, at 6:45, we’re meeting at the POZ-Attitudes Christmas Tree in the main room for a group picture and to put the final ornaments on the tree. If you have a special decoration you want to add bring it. Picture is optional, as is ornament.

Come join us. Come early if you want to participate in the final decoration of our Christmas Tree.

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HIV/AIDS Clinical Services

The HIV Clinic at Paul Hughes Health Center offers primary medical care for persons living with HIV. The Paul Hughes Health Center HIV Clinic is now a “one-stop” center for top quality services delivered by an exceptional staff of highly experienced professionals. Our staff work together with you as a team to provide the services you require.
We offer extended hours for most services on Monday & Tuesday evenings to make it more convenient for those of you that prefer after hours appointments.

Services at the clinic include:

Eligibility Determination for Ryan White Part A
Medical Case Management
Psychiatry and Mental Health
AIDS Drugs Assistance Program (ADAP) eligibility services & Pharmacy are also available at this location
Located at:

Broward County Health Department
Paul Hughes Health Center
205 NW 6th Avenue
Pompano Beach, FL 33060
(Just East of I-95)
For directions and map, please click here

Bus Route: #42

Phone: (954) 788-6044

Days & Times:

Monday & Tuesday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Wednesday, Thursday & *Friday 8:00 am – 5 pm

(*2nd & 4th Fridays the clinic opens at 1:00 pm)

We accept Ryan White Part A, Medicaid & Medicare Part B

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call the number above or come in and see us.

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This Wednesday, 12-15-2010, we’re having a guest speaker; Sonia Diaz, Manager, Sales and Community Outreach for AHF MCO of Florida, Inc. d/b/a Positive Healthcare Partners HMO (Medicare) and Positive Healthcare Florida (Medicaid).

Under the umbrella of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation are various lines of business: Pharmacy, Health Plan, Out-of-The Closet, Healthcare Centers and Public Health.

Sonia represents the health plans, Positive Healthcare Partners and Positive Healthcare Florida and a description of each plan is found below. What makes us unique is that we have health plans designed specifically for people living with HIV/AIDS with operations in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.

Sonia will be presenting on the health plans that we have as well as a HMO and Medicare 101.

Positive Healthcare Partners (HMO SNP) Florida:

Positive Healthcare™ Partners (HMO SNP) is AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s Medicare Advantage Part D Managed Care Plan, designed specifically for Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with HIV, living in Miami-Dade or Broward Counties.

Positive Healthcare™ Partners (HMO SNP) is considered a “Special Needs Plan” by Medicare and is approved for operation in the Medicare designated service area of Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.

Positive Healthcare™ Partners has created a Medicare Part D formulary of drugs designed to most effectively treat its members living with HIV/AIDS.

All Positive Healthcare™ Partners Primary Care Providers have extensive experience in treating HIV and each of them is involved in the care of at least twenty (20) and usually many more clients living with HIV.

Positive Healthcare Florida is a Medicaid Reform health plan. The plan is for HIV-positive Medicaid recipients who live in Broward County.

Positive Healthcare is part of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the nation’s largest HIV health care provider. The health plan covers the following with no co-pays and no premiums:

Routine and specialist doctor office visits
Hospitalization, emergency and urgent care
Outpatient services
Durable medical equipment
Prescription drugs with no limitations
Medical transportation
Health benefits beyond those of standard Medicaid
Positive Healthcare’s provider network includes leading HIV doctors. It also has a complete network of specialists in Broward County

Sonia Diaz, MS
110 SE 6th Street, Suite 1960
Fort Lauderdale, Fl 33301
Office: 954-522-3132
Cell: 954-260-0318
Fax: 954-522-5260
Website: http://www.positivehealthcare.org

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