Grant will aid USF in HIV, AIDS treatment

At least 90,000 cases of AIDS existed in Florida last year. Half of those people have already died.

However, USF is offering hope for the 32 new HIV and AIDS cases that are diagnosed daily in the state.

USF’s Florida-Caribbean AIDS Education and Training Center (AETC) received a $3.225-million grant by the U.S. Health Resources and Services administration this past summer.

The AETC’s mission is to ensure that physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dentists, pharmacists and other health professionals receive training on new and emerging drugs and health treatments for HIV and AIDS.

The half dozen schools and departments at USF involved in the center, which has arms all over the state and region, aid in the broadening of education and training.

Michael Knox, a distinguished professor and director of both the AETC and the USF Center for HIV Education and Research, said USF will provide the leadership and fund faculty at several premier institutions, including the University of Florida, University of Miami, University of Puerto Rico, Florida A & M and the University of the Virgin Islands.

“We are pleased to have brought them all together in this effort,” Knox said.

USF received the grant through one of 12 AETCs funded nationwide.

On the “University Beat” program broadcast on WUSF 89.7, Knox said the “grant shows that the federal government recognizes USF as a regional powerhouse, especially in terms of HIV work.

“The Florida-Caribbean program has an annual grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration through the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act,” Knox said. “The USF Center for HIV Education and Research competed against other universities, and we wrote the successful proposal for this region.”

Knox said the faculty has crucial roles in the education and distribution of clinical information. He said the medical faculty provides timely case consultation in person and via the telephone.

“This grant has nearly doubled the budget of the USF Center for HIV Education and Research. We now have over 90 part-time faculty,” Knox said.

The Florida-Caribbean AETC offers specialized clinical education covering essential up-to-date information on the transmission, treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS. The education is provided in a variety of formats, including workshops, hands-on supervised clinical training, case conferences and specialty conferences.

The grant has been available for use since July 1 and continues until June 30.