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FHIC Community Programs


Florida Family AIDS Network (FAN)

BACKGROUND

Florida Family AIDS Network is a Ryan White Care Act Title IV funded program administered by the University of South Florida, College of Public Health through the Florida Health Information Center.
Florida Family AIDS Network has successfully coordinated comprehensive HIV/AIDS medical and social support services primarily serving communities of color for nearly 12 years spanning a five county area. Since its inception, FAN has served over 1,500 women, infants, children, youth and families infected with or affected by HIV disease.

The goals of Ryan White Care Act Title IV programs are:

  • to foster the development and support of comprehensive care infrastructures, including primary care, that increase access to culturally competent, family-centered, community-based coordinated care;
  • to emphasize prevention within the comprehensive care system in order to reduce the spread of HIV-infection to vulnerable populations; and
  • to link comprehensive systems of care with HIV/AIDS clinical trials and other research activities, increasing access for children, youth, women and their families.

MISSION
Florida Family AIDS Network (FAN) in Central and Southwest Florida pursues a vision to serve children and families who are infected and affected with HIV, through a family-centered, coordinated, community-based comprehensive system of care which includes medical care, case management, clinical trials, as well as by educating public and professionals about HIV/AIDS.

Program Components

Perinatal HIV Program
The Perinatal HIV Program is a key initiative of the FAN program in terms of addressing the Ryan White Title IV program goal of reducing perinatal HIV transmission. The Perinatal HIV Prevention Program's primary goal is to prevent and decrease vertical transmission of HIV in newborns. The target population for early intervention and treatment is HIV-positive pregnant women. Early detection and treatment of HIV disease can help women significantly reduce the chances of having an HIV-infected newborn. In addition, with new and emerging combination therapies, women have more treatment options during their pregnancy. This program component ensures that pregnant women are counseled, tested and advised on the benefits of AZT therapy and antiretrovirals during pregnancy, childbirth, and early infancy. Additional services provided include medical care, support services and social and financial referrals. Outcome: The success of this initiative is demonstrated by the significant decrease in the number of women enrolled in this program who gave birth to non-infected newborns in this past year to less than five percent.

Adolescent Initiative
Adolescent specific services are critical to identifying and serving youth. FAN is embracing peer-education and mentoring activities with existing community providers to reach this vulnerable population. Expanded adolescent initiatives include advocacy activities on a local, state and national level. Title IV efforts increasingly have emphasized the importance of targeting adolescents, thus one of our main foci is to engage and identify at-risk teens for counseling and testing. The primary goal is to prevent primary or secondary infections and bring HIV-positive adolescents into a comprehensive system of care as well as provide opportunity to participate in clinical care and trials. To accomplish this goal, we have incorporated a mentorship and peer-education program component.

Counseling & Testing FAN conducts community-based and on-site Pre & Post Counseling and Testing services aimed at identifying new HIV/AIDS cases. This activity is commonly known as "case finding" and is a key prevention and early intervention strategy for reducing primary and secondary HIV-infections. The testing method used is the Orasure (mouth swab) procedure which is highly effective, quick, easily administered and non-invasive. Approximately 400 tests were administered by our trained testing specialists in 2003 and four new clients were identified.

Case Management
Case management is the cornerstone of FAN's program and is the hub for brokering, coordinating and arranging comprehensive services for HIV-infected and affected children and families.
Case managers
are the resource guides for families and assist them in gaining access to current information, referrals and services. Currently, FAN has 600 families enrolled in case management services across five counties.

Consumer Advocacy
One of the priorities of the Ryan White Title IV, and the Florida Family AIDS Network programs has been to advocate for HIV-infected consumers. This advocacy has been conducted through HIV-positive staff members in their roles as
Consumer Advocates. The Consumer Advocates meet other HIV-infected individuals, and newly diagnosed persons in order to offer support, to introduce them to the services, treatment and clinical trial options available in the community, and to help teach them to navigate the systems of care. In addition, these advocates educate legislators about the changing picture of HIV/AIDS.
Positive Education, Inc. has implemented TASK - The AIDS Survival Kit - to teach newly diagnosed and persons with HIV/AIDS to live successfully with the disease.

African American Children Initiative/Minority AIDS Initiative
This program component provides emotional and psychosocial support tailored for African American women and children affected by HIV/AIDS, in order to enhance the utilization of existing services. The
Family Support Coordinator, a trained professional with a Master's in Social Work (MSEd), assists minority families of African-American and Latino heritage in achieving optimum family functioning through family assessments, referrals, coordination of necessary support services such as specialized parent education, and clinical care workshops/seminars through community providers.


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