With Miami Visit, Federal Health Officials Begin Formulating Plan To Fight HIV In Florida

Federal health officials visited Miami this week to learn more about why HIV infection rates are higher in South Florida and Puerto Rico than the rest of the country and what they can do to change that.

The Presidential Council on HIV / AIDS is working towards the Trump administration’s goal of ending the HIV epidemic in the United States by 2030. In particular, the group is targeting 48 counties in the US mainland, including the Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. , Washington, DC and San Juan, Puerto Rico, where more than half of new HIV infections occur.

US Department of Health Assistant Secretary Brett Giroir, who is also a US public health admiral and a pediatrician, said he has visited community health centers and organizations in Miami doing “great things” that he hopes will do again be elsewhere in the country.

He was impressed with Care Resource, a local multi-site health clinic.

He said Care Resource helps patients with circumstances that may affect their access to health care, such as lack of housing or transportation.

“When you don’t have food on the table or an apartment, it’s very difficult to know how to take care of yourself and take your medication every day,” said Giroir.

Federal officials also visited Latinos Salud, a community organization that promotes a welcoming community for gay Latinos, transgender people, and those infected with HIV.

Giroir says Latinos Salud is helping new HIV patients understand how to deal with the disease by sending a counselor to medical appointments.

“This kind of personal attention is simply immeasurable in value,” said Giroir.

Giroir said one of the group’s priorities in Miami is learning how to counter religious, cultural or social stigma affecting gay and bisexual men and transgender women who are more likely to be affected by the HIV / AIDS epidemic . For example, patients might receive medication in the mail if they are worried about going to a pharmacy.

Seven Florida counties that have been designated areas with high rates of new HIV infection will receive federal funding to develop plans to reverse these trends by the end of the year.

Giroir said Florida is likely to receive new federal funding to fight HIV / AIDS next year.

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