Black, Hispanic Caucuses Promote Three HIV/AIDS-Related Bills in Florida Legislature
Members of Florida's black and Hispanic caucuses convened on Thursday to call on legislative leaders to find funding for several HIV/AIDS-related bills, the Miami Herald reports. The bipartisan group, which includes both senators and representatives, have filed the three bills this session. The first (HB 1289), sponsored by Rep. Frederica Wilson (D), would require corrections officials to test within 60 days of their release all prison inmates whose HIV status is unknown (Miami Herald, 2/22). The test results would then become part of the inmate's medical record, and health department officials in the county where the inmate plans to reside after his or her release would be notified. Corrections officials would also be required to provide inmates preparing for release with "special transitional assistance," including information on how to prevent HIV transmission, referrals to health care providers in the county where the inmate plans to reside and a 30-day supply of all medications the inmate is taking at the time of release (HB 1289 text, 2/25). The second bill (HB 1463) would increase the number of minority HIV/AIDS coordinators within the Department of Health and would require the department to expand its HIV/AIDS programs within minority communities. The bill also calls for "linkage programs" for HIV-positive inmates prior to their release from prison (HB 1463 text, 2/25). The final bill (HB 1333) asks for an appropriation of $3.5 million for the establishment of school-based AIDS education incentive grants. The bill lists grant proposal requirements and factors to be considered when awarding grants and requires that recipients submit annual reports (HB 1333 text, 2/25). Wilson said that the bills are necessary because HIV/AIDS rates are "rising in our community," noting that 17,066 people in the Miami-Dade area alone are thought to be infected with the virus (Miami Herald, 2/22).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.