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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Sep. 20, 201612:00 PM EST

City seeking $5.5M for HIV/AIDS programs

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by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

The city is seeking to appropriate $5.5 million for fiscal year 2017-18 from the federal government to provide health and support services to people who have been diagnosed with HIV and AIDS.

The funds are from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

There is no city match required to receive the grant.

The federal program is named for a 13-year-old boy, who in 1984 contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion.

Shortly after he died in 1990, Congress enacted the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act, which is funded this year at $2.32 billion.

Jacksonville has received Ryan White CARE Act funds since 1994 and was granted $5.9 million for fiscal year 2016-17.

Through the city, in conjunction with the HIV Health Services Planning Council and health departments in Duval, Baker, Clay, Nassau and St. Johns counties, a range of health care services are provided to more than 4,500 patients in Northeast Florida.

The focus of the grant is to provide outpatient medical care and non-medical case management through local nonprofits, including Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida, Community Rehabilitation Center, River Region Human Services, Northeast Florida AIDS Network and the University of Florida Jacksonville Center for HIV-AIDS Research, Education and Service.

Dental care, mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment, medications and home health care may be provided through the program.

In addition, transportation, private insurance assistance and legal services also may be provided to qualified patients.

According to the state health department, 7,424 people in Duval County were diagnosed with AIDS in the 12 months ending May 31.

Gay men represent 40 percent of the reported cases, followed by heterosexual patients at 33 percent and intravenous drug users at 16 percent.

In the same period, 2,992 were diagnosed with HIV.

City Council in August also appropriated $2.2 million in federal Housing Opportunity for Persons with AIDS funds to provide housing assistance and related support services to low-income HIV and AIDS patients in Duval County and their families.

The appropriation ordinance, 2016-569, is being reviewed by the council Finance and Public Health & Safety committees.

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