Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Big Picture - September 2015

The Big Picture is back! This post is part of a monthly series that summarizes what's been going on in the Ryan White Planning Council, HIV Prevention Planning Group, and their subcommittees. To view meeting materials and presentations, please visit or check out our SlideShare account.

Nominations: The Nominations Committee approved 15 applications, including 5 new members.

Coleman Terrell, Director of the AIDS Activities Coordinating Office (AACO), reported on the MAI and the CoRECT program.

The Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI) is a federal program designed to meet the needs of minority individuals living with HIV and AIDS. The Philadelphia EMA currently receives around $2 million in MAI funding. This funds several Medical Case Management and Ambulatory (Outpatient) Health programs that serve minorities. AACO requested that funding for these programs continue at the same level.

The Co-operative RE-engagement Controlled Trial (CoRECT) is a project funded by the CDC through 2019. The program gets (links) and keeps (retains) people with HIV in care. The program targets patients who have never attended or who have stopped attending appointments. Health Department staff meet face-to-face with these patients to help them get in care.

The National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) aims to reduce the impact of HIV nationwide. It encourages a wide variety of governmental bodies and organizations to work together toward common goals.

The first NHAS began in 2010, around the same time that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was introduced, and ran for 5 years. The updated NHAS for 2015-2020 came out in August. Several changes have been made in the new NHAS; you can read about a few of them on this fact sheet. Here’s another infographic that reviews some key points about the update. We’ll post more about the NHAS in the future.

AACO’s Evelyn Torres presented on the Direct Emergency Financial Assistance program (DEFA), and Gary Tumolo of Philadelphia’s Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD) presented on housing.

The Direct Emergency Financial Assistance program offers emergency food, rent, utilities, transportation, and short-term medication assistance for people living with HIV and AIDS. You can read more about the DEFA program in this guide.

HOPWA is a national program providing housing for people with HIV and AIDS. In Philadelphia, 340 households are on the HOPWA waiting list, with an average wait time of 7 years. (People with AIDS who are street homeless wait about 1 year.) The Section 8 waiting list is closed. Project HOME is one alternative housing program. The PHFA website also lists some housing programs for seniors and people with disabilities, along with other affordable housing options.

Co-Chair Nominations
Dave Gana has reached the end of his two-year term as Positive Committee Co-Chair, so it’s time for the committee to elect a new Co-Chair. Several participants were nominated, and each nominee will give a short speech at the October Positive Committee meeting. Stay tuned for election results!

Needs Assessment
The Needs Assessment Committee reviewed the results of a recent provider survey on AACO’s local pharmaceutical program. They also created a transportation survey for providers, based on a request from the allocations meetings. Results of the survey will be available at next month’s meeting.

Comp Planning
Evelyn Torres shared further information about AACO’s linkage to care activities in Philadelphia with the Comprehensive Planning Committee (CPC). Philadelphia recently received a few CDC grants, which will fund general prevention efforts, patient navigation, and PrEP.

Based on previous conversations, Nicole Johns introduced a plan for a retention navigation model, designed to keep patients in medical care. The pilot program would occur at one-stop-shop medical clinics in the Philadelphia area.

The HPG has been doing a lot of work around PrEP, a promising new method for preventing HIV transmission. PrEP has not yet been fully implemented in the Philadelphia area. The HPG hopes to help change that!

Dr. Helena Kwakwa of the City Health Center’s PrEP program gave the HPG some information about the program, which offers PrEP at all 8 of the city’s Health Centers. The program currently prescribes PrEP to 80 HIV-negative individuals.

The HPG is inviting young men with experience taking PrEP to their October HPG meeting.

Integrated Plan Guidance
The HPG discussed the federal government’s guidance for the Integrated Care and Prevention Plan, due in 2016. The plan will describe what Philadelphia has done and plans to do to address the HIV epidemic in our area. The HPG will hold several joint meetings with the Planning Council to prepare for the plan.

General: We would like to welcome our newest staff member, Antonio Boone. Antonio has a background in prevention education. He has worked with St. Christopher’s Hospital, Philadelphia FIGHT, and the Drexel University SWEAT program. Antonio will be working as a Health Planner, specializing in PrEP and other areas of HIV prevention.

Want to get involved? To learn more, follow the links in this post, attend one of the meetings listed on our calendar, or email If you have questions, you can also call us at 215-574-6760.

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