AIDS Healthcare Foundation Opens Magic Johnson AIDS Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla.
The Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation on Monday will open in Jacksonville, Fla., an Earvin "Magic" Johnson Jr. Clinic for HIV/AIDS, which will offer HIV testing, medical care and social services, the Florida Times-Union reports. Although this will be the first Magic Johnson clinic in Florida, AHF operates 10 such clinics in California and a jointly operated medical office and pharmacy in New York. AHF President Michael Weinstein said that the Jacksonville site was chosen "because of need in the area," as the Florida Health Department says that one in 156 Floridians are HIV-positive. "Jacksonville is representative of a lot of medium-type cities where there is limited access to care," Weinstein said, adding that AHF expects 200 patients to use the clinic in its first year. The clinic, open to all patients regardless of insurance coverage or ability to pay, will offer initial HIV testing; disease monitoring, including radiology and laboratory tests; and treatment for HIV/AIDS, with the option of participating in clinical research trials. In addition, the clinic will provide social services such as "public benefits counseling, mental health counseling and 24-hour access to medical advice." The goal of the clinic, which uses Magic Johnson's name because he is a "symbol of hope and success in AIDS treatment," is to see patients within 48 hours of first contact, as the average wait time is currently one to three months. "That's like telling someone who has just been diagnosed with cancer to wait," Robert Catalla, the clinic's medical director, said, adding, "That's unacceptable" (Skidmore, Florida Times-Union, 7/24). For more information on HIV/AIDS in Florida, visit State Health Facts Online.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.