HIV/AIDS Services

 

Services



The Miami-Dade County Health Department/Office of HIV/AIDS is the largest county HIV/AIDS health department program in the State of Florida. The Office of HIV/AIDS program includes prevention and health education/risk reduction, counseling and testing, surveillance and patient care services (Ryan White Part B, AIDS Drug Assistance Program and General Revenue). The Office of HIV/AIDS engages in special projects nationally, statewide and locally. The current projects include Business Responds to AIDS, Labor Responds to AIDS, Wave (Miami-Dade County Health Department Women of Color group), Faith Based Initiatives, Take Control, Drug Resistance Surveillance, Medical Records Validation Project , Perinatal HIV project , African-American testing initiatives, LUCES (Latina’s Unidas Contra El SIDA), SOS (Sistas Organizing to Survive). Additionally, the Office HIV/AIDS has formed many partnerships to conduct research projects, among them Amigas, Project SABA (Study of factors that affect Adherence to HIV therapy and safer sex Behaviors among women in Miami-Dade County’s ADAP), Project SHARE (Sharing HIV/AIDS Research Education).

The MDCHD/OHA, consists of a Sterling team of 62 members who are dedicated to the citizens of Miami-Dade County.  The combined staff is multilingual, multicultural and multitalented. These unique abilities enable the Office of HIV/AIDS to be a world class public health system.


For any other information about HIV/AIDS, you can call our main phone number: (305) 470-6999.




The “Test Miami” Initiative is an unprecedented collaborative effort between the Miami-Dade County Health Department and Florida Department of Health, HIV counselors, community-based organizations, private and public sector, faith-based organizations, health care providers, University of Miami Developmental Center for AIDS Research, Florida International University School of Public Health and the School of  Journalism, Nova Southeastern University, Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, city, county, state and national officials and concerned citizens that aims to:

  1. Promote routine HIV testing by physicians
  2. Improve Miami-Dade residents’ understanding of HIV
  3. Reduce the transmission of HIV

In Miami-Dade County the Black community is very diverse in comparison to the rest of the nation. The Black population is a diverse mixture of African-Americans and people who have emigrated from countries in the Caribbean, South and Central America (many are also born in the United States from immigrant parents) More than half of Miami residents are foreign born, the largest percentage for any urban city in the United States. The HIV/AIDS epidemic is a major health threat for Black communities in Miami-Dade County. One out of 45 blacks in Miami-Dade County is living with HIV or AIDS, in comparison to 1 in 179 for the Hispanic/Latino and 1 in 130 for White. Blacks account for 20% of Miami-Dade County’s population compared to 52% of reported AIDS cases and 44.7% of HIV reported cases through December 2008. Blacks represent the largest racial/ethnic group of those individuals living with HIV or AIDS and those who have died from AIDS since the beginning of this epidemic.

In our county, Hispanic/Latino are shaped by ethnic and cultural differences, migration, immigration policy, socioeconomic status and regional differences reflected in 22 sub-populations of Hispanic/Latino from the Caribbean, South and Central America, and U.S born. Hispanic/Latino comprises 62% of the total population in our county and they represent 36% of all reported AIDS cases and 41% of HIV reported cases through December 2008.

Women are most severely affected by HIV/AIDS where heterosexual contact is a dominant mode of transmission like in Miami-Dade County. In 2008 women accounted for 30% of reported AIDS cases and 24% of HIV case. Black females represent 75% of reported AIDS cases in that year and 71% among HIV cases. Regardless of race/ethnicity increased risk for HIV and AIDS can also be related to poverty, unemployment, financial dependence of their partners, lack of health insurance, homelessness and other social and economic factors.

The epidemic among Men who have Sex with Men [MSM] is intense in virtually every county and racial/ethnic group in Florida. In Miami-Dade County, the most populous county, at least 1 in 8 White MSM, 1 in 8 Black MSM, and 1 in 12 Hispanic/Latino MSM are living with HIV or AIDS. Issues related to stigma, homophobia, discrimination and denial continue to contribute to HIV/AIDS racial and ethnic disparities fueling the epidemic in our county.

Background/History:

For two days in February 2009, more than 30 invited participants attended a Think Tank, Toward A Vision of Thoughtful Change, Miami.  Evelyn Ullah, BSN, MSW, Director of the Miami-Dade County (Miami-Dade) Health Department, Office of HIV/AIDS, convened the Think Tank, with sponsorship from the California-based Flowers Heritage Foundation and Get Screened Oakland (a testing initiative of Oakland, California, Mayor Ronald Dellums) through a generous grant from the Levi Strauss Foundation, to provide a forum for stakeholders to discuss freely and openly new strategies for addressing the HIV/AIDS crisis in Miami-Dade.

Over the course of the two days, the participants sought to hold a mirror up to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and envision a world on the other side of that mirror.  They were able to reach consensus on a goal toward which HIV/AIDS efforts in Miami-Dade should be directed: reducing transmission of HIV.  That goal, however, is multi-factorial in nature.  The participants agreed that reducing transmission of HIV must be accomplished through a sub-population by sub-population approach. 

“Test Miami” Overview

Goal 1: Routine HIV testing in all health-care settings.

Goal 2: Encourage individuals to know their HIV status and seek treatment if needed.

Goal 3: Eliminate perinatal transmission.

Primary Objective: To promote the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2006 recommendation of HIV testing as part of routine clinical care in all health care settings.

Target Audience: Physicians, health care practitioners, hospitals, HIV counselors, health care settings, and the community at large.

Benefits to the Community

  1. Increased accessibility to services.
  2. Open channel of communication between clients and medical providers.
  3. Knowing one’s HIV status and accessing life saving care.
  4. Stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS
  5. Enabling individuals to take care of their health.
  6. Enhancing personal commitment, ethics and civic responsibility among health care providers on HIV/AIDS issues.
  7. Reducing stigma and discrimination against HIV-positive individuals and those affected by HIV/AIDS

Benefits to the Miami-Dade County Health Department

  1. Access to unique populations.
  2. Extended impact and reach.
  3. Increased partnership capacity.
  4. Increased priority and public comment on HIV/AIDS
  5. Higher local profile and credibility.
  6. Reducing stigma and discrimination against HIV-positive individuals and those affected by HIV/AIDS

Action Steps

Mobilizing the Health Sector

  1. Physician Symposiums on Early Intervention Services.
  2. Secure buy-in from high level leaders (Chief Executive Officers, presidents, medical directors, etc) of major health care institutions including hospitals and clinics/clinic networks.
  3. Convene first workshop of partner hospitals and clinics to facilitate development of institutional routine testing implementation plans.
  4. Work with Florida/Caribbean AIDS Education and Training Center to improve prenatal testing to focus on achievement of uniform third trimester testing and routine testing in all health facilities.

 

Working with the Community

  1. Conduct a series of trainings with providers to better prepare our community to link individuals found to be HIV-infected to appropriate care and support.
  2. Conduct a series of seminars as part of Project SHARE (Sharing HIV/AIDS Research Education) in partnership with University of Miami Developmental Center for AIDS Research focused on the dissemination of theory-based prevention strategies that have been shown to be effective in scientific studies to the community at large.
  3. Recruit and engage high profile, city-leaders to help reduce HIV related stigma by increasing priority and public comment on HIV/AIDS
  4. Recruit and engage Miami-Dade County Public Schools personnel to promote HIV testing among students and their families.
  5. Recruit and engage faith-based organizations to mobilize their congregations and communities of faith to know their HIV status.
  6. Develop an HIV Counselor Network to share/exchange best practices and strategies, provide peer support and continuing education classes.

Enhancing Prevention

  1. Set up risk assessment kiosks at designated health care settings to increase access to HIV testing.
  2. Increase education and testing efforts at three South Florida University campuses.
  3. Promote prevention for positives including adherence and compliance, ARTAS (Antiretroviral Treatment Access Studies) training, and peer education.
  4. Facilitate Attorney Symposium to provide a Continuing Legal Education certification course on Florida’s mandated laws, policies, and statutes governing the administration of HIV counseling and testing.

    Toward a Vision of Thoughtful Change, Miami - A Think Tank Experience. February 17-18, 2009




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