The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has awarded Children’s Diagnostic and Treatment Center (CDTC) in Ft. Lauderdale a grant totaling $1,814,131 towards its program that aims to assist families living with HIV/AIDS. The Comprehensive Family AIDS Program (CFAP), part of the Children’s Diagnostic and Treatment Center, will receive these much-needed funds to continue its overall mission to provide medical care, education, support, and intervention type services to the Broward County community. The Comprehensive Family AIDS Program receives funding from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP), which was created in 1990 to “improve the quality and availability of HIV care and treatment for low-income people with HIV.” The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program is a part of the initiative “Ending The HIV Epidemic In The US” (EHE) which main focus is the reduction of new HIV infection rates by 90% by the year 2030. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced in June the awarding of $115 million dollars in grants to 60 recipients that are a part of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. “With this investment, we’re increasing our efforts to end the HIV epidemic,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becarra stated. Health Resources and Services Administrator Carole Johnson agreed at the time noting that “ending the epidemic is within reach if we continue to center our work on the needs of individuals with HIV and supporting proven strategies to reduce new infections.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data in 2021 that found that the highest rates of new HIV infections are centered in the South with Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana leading the way. Florida had the third highest number of new HIV infections in the country with the counties of Hillsborough and Pinellas each on the CDC’s “areas of concern” list. The Florida Health Department is working in a cooperative effort with the EHE by establishing phases to combat the surge of HIV/AIDS infections in the state. Phase 1 of the Florida Unified Ending The HIV Epidemic (EHE) is to make sure that each county has the materials and resources necessary to get the information out to the public on HIV prevention and methodology. Besides Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, the Florida Health Department is focusing on other areas where “the HIV burden is the highest”: Broward, Duval, Miami-Dade, Orange, and Palm Beach.
The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program grant monies helps to continue the engagements of health departments across the country to play a critical role in the care of those living with HIV/AIDS. More than half of the people diagnosed with HIV in this country receive needed medical care, medications, social services, and disability assistance through the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. The Comprehensive Family AIDS Program (CFAP) “provides primary care, specialty HIV medical care, medical case management and supportive services to approximately 2,000 women, infants, children and youth infected and affected by HIV/AIDS in Broward County” which the recent awarded grant will sustain. The CDTC, a nonprofit organization, subsists on grants and private donations, and “has successfully served multiple generations of many families” for more than 30 years. “We are extremely proud of our Comprehensive Family AIDS Program which provides a one stop, familycentered approach to healthcare and distinctly addresses the needs of individuals living with HIV or AIDS and their families,” said Ana Calderon Randazzo, Ph.D., executive director of Children’s Diagnosis & Treatment Center. “It’s had a tremendous impact on our community, garnering a zero percent transmission rate from mother to baby for the past five years.” Before and during the Covid-19 pandemic, community outreach in various ways such as virtual town hall meetings, surveys, online community forums, key informant interviews, and focus groups were employed as part of Phase 1 Unified Ending The HIV Epidemic (EHE) in the vain of becoming inclusive in providing comprehensive care and services for Black, Latinx, transgender, and LGBTQ Floridians. “Our team at CDTC is privileged to continue our work in the fight to end the HIV epidemic,” shares CFAP medical director Lisa-Gaye Robinson, MD MPH. “The improvement in medications over the decades has allowed those living with HIV to live a long and healthy life. We’ve come so far in providing a healthy, long life for those living with HIV. But there is still so much to be done to stop the spread in our community and eliminate the stigma.”