The Basics – What You Should Know First

The programs at NFAN are offered to people with HIV/AIDS who live in Duval, Nassau, Clay, Baker, or St. Johns Counties. Many of the programs are for people who are eligible for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, which is shortened to RWHAP.

RWHAP is broken into many parts. Some of them help pay for health insurance, some for prescriptions, some for a place to live, and so on.

Besides Ryan White programs, NFAN has other ways to help you. We can put you in touch with local programs like food pantries and clothing closets, along with services that come through the state or federal government, like Medicaid and also SNAP, which is often called food stamps.

Some programs, like support groups and lunchtime learning sessions, are just about helping you and your loved ones live with HIV/AIDS and making things easier.

As soon as you call us at 904-356-1612, you’ll start finding out that you don’t have to handle living with HIV/AIDS all by yourself.

Who You’ll Work With

You’ll first talk to an intake eligibility specialist, who will explain how you can begin to get help. After that, you’ll be matched to a case manager.

Your case manager is the one who will look for programs that will work for you. Your case manager will also help you apply for these services, arrange for how to get them, and help you understand how to follow any rules so you won’t miss out on getting the help you need.

Your case manager is your partner, and you should feel comfortable talking together. Always remember that nothing you tell your case manager can be shared with anyone else without your consent.

Every six months, you and your case manager or eligibility specialist will meet to go over what has changed in your life and make sure that you still qualify for the services you’re getting. He or she will also see if new ones are available to you.

Getting Started

Here are some things you’ll need to bring to get started.

  • Picture ID, like a driver’s license
  • Social Security card
  • Proof of positivity for HIV/AIDS, which is shortened to “POP”
  • Lab work less than six months old that shows a CD4 count and viral load
  • Ryan White card number or notice of eligibility
  • Proof of income for yourself for at least 30 days. This includes all sources of income, such as current employment, Social Security, child support, unemployment benefits, pensions and retirement benefits.
Medical Case Management

Medical Case Management

So many things affect your health. Your medical case manager can see if you can get help with:

  • Medical care
  • Prescriptions and medications
  • Dental care
  • Mental health counseling and treatment
  • Substance abuse counseling and treatment
  • Office visit and medication co-pay assistance
  • Transportation to medical appointments

HIV/AIDS is different from many other health issues, and there are different programs just for people who are living with it. Your case manager will help you apply for the programs that match your needs.

Health Insurance Premium Assistance Program (HIPAP)

Health Insurance Premium Assistance Program (HIPAP)

Losing or not having health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid is a huge problem if you are HIV-positive or have AIDS. It means you might be going without medical care that could keep you healthier.

HIPAP pays up to $400 per month for health insurance premiums if you qualify.

If you don’t have health insurance, HIPAP can help try to find you a policy.

If you do have insurance, whether it’s through Obamacare (which is the Affordable Care Act, or ACA), your employer, or COBRA from past employment, HIPAP might help you too.

There are two things to remember about HIPAP.

1. HIPAP can only be used to pay toward insurance for the person who tests positive, not for spouses, children, or other family members.

2. HIPAP applies to health insurance premium payments, not for deductibles or for many co-pays. The only co-pays HIPAP covers are when you are seeing your HIV/AIDS doctor. Your case manager will authorize these.

To see if you could get help paying for your health insurance premiums through HIPAP, ask your case manager. You can also contact NFAN’s health insurance coordinator directly. She is Katrina Odell at 904-356-1612, extension 121, or kdoell@nfan.org.

AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP)

AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP)

If you are uninsured or underinsured and meet certain low-income levels, ADAP helps you get HIV/AIDS drugs. This program must be accessed through the Duval County Health Department at 904-253-1040.

You won’t be able to use this program if you are in a nursing home, hospice, or correctional facility.

Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA)

Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) 

If you are struggling with housing costs, whether rent, mortgage, or utilities, HOPWA might be able to help you. It’s available for people in Duval, Clay, St. Johns, and Nassau counties.

HOPWA is divided into two parts, both trying to help people avoid being homeless and live in a safe, stable home. The first part offers assistance with past due rent, mortgage, and utilities. The second part offers rental and utility deposits.

Short-Term Rent, Mortgage, and Utilities Assistance (STRMU)

Stress about a sudden lack of money can cause you to put your health on the back burner. If you are being threatened with losing your home or having the lights or water turned off, it can be hard to keep up with your healthcare. The STRMU program was started to help people with HIV/AIDS keep their living situations stable even if they are having a financial emergency.

Has something like this happened to you?

  • Had your hours cut, or lost your job and income
  • Car repairs ate into your money for household bills (receipts required)
  • Medical bills you couldn’t afford (receipts required)
  • You had to travel for a funeral or other emergency (receipts required)

STRMU offers temporary help, up to five months over a 12-month period.

There are times when STMRU cannot be used, such as if you have already been served with eviction or have past-due utility bills that were never paid.

Permanent Housing Placement (PHP)

Are you looking to make a permanent move but need money for deposits? Maybe you’re in one of these situations:

  • Your lease is ending
  • You need a more affordable place to live
  • You lost your roommate so no longer have someone to split the bills with
  • You need a smaller home to rent
  • You need a safer place to live due to crime or violence where you are
  • You became divorced or separated

PHP is for people who need help with reasonable charges to move to a new permanent home.

When you apply for either HOPWA program, here’s what you’ll need to bring to your appointment.

ALL Clients must have the following:

  1. Proof of Positivity for HIV/AIDS, which is shortened to “POP” (Either Notice of Eligibility or Original Proof of HIV status or Detectable Viral load of 200 or more)
  2. Current labs with CD4 count and viral load information (12 months old or less)
  3. Picture ID, Social Security Cards for ALL the people in the household and up-to-date Ryan White Card
  4. Proof of income for yourself and household. This includes: Social Security benefits, child support, employment income, unemployment income, retirement benefits, pension, trust funds, TANF, financial AID and any other form of income you may have
  5. Lease (unless you have a mortgage)

You may also be asked to bring one or all of the following:

  1. Utility bill (if requesting utility assistance) 
  2. Deposit Quote Letter from utility provider (if requesting utility deposit)
  3. Completed Landlord packet provided by NFAN (if requesting rental assistance or rental deposit assistance)
  4. Mortgage stub or statement (if requesting mortgage assistance)
  5. If unable to work, a verifiable note from your doctor
  6. If loss of job, proof of unemployment application, and/or letter of termination required
  7. Proof of food stamps
  8. If living in public housing, your HUD voucher and HUD utility voucher
  9. If you’ve lost your Social Security benefits, proof of this loss. If you are pending Social Security, proof of pending status
  10. Printout from Work Source regarding job searching
  11. Receipts for all car repairs, medical bills, and other emergencies
  12. Most recent bank statement and proof of tax return

Other information might be required after your full interview. For an appointment, call 904-356-1612, ext. 124.

Mary H. Lewis Food Pantry

Mary H. Lewis Food Pantry

Eating right is one of the most important things you can do if you are living with HIV/AIDS. That’s why NFAN made the Mary H. Lewis Food Pantry open to anyone living with HIV/AIDS, no matter where they get other services.

In 1990, Mary Lewis volunteered at NFAN and started the food pantry. Mary contacted grocery stores and restaurants and collected every bit of food that she could. She organized the pantry and set in place the way that HIV+ individuals could receive food.

At that time, the available HIV medications had strict instructions about taking medication so many hours before eating, so many hours after eating, or with food. The medications also came with sometimes harsh side effects, like vomiting and diarrhea. With these obstacles, having food on hand was even more important.

You don’t have to be a client with NFAN to use the food pantry. The people who can use the food pantry...

  • Live in Duval, Nassau, Baker, Clay or St. Johns counties
  • Are HIV-positive
  • Have an NFAN food voucher, If they are NFAN clients
  • If they have a case manager at another agency, they will need to have that person fax NFAN a signed referral with their Ryan White number
  • If they don’t have a case manager or a Ryan White card, they will need to show proof of positivity and provide their social security number
Support Groups

Princess Club

The Princess Club isn’t like any other support group. It’s for girls between the ages of 5 and 15 who are not HIV-positive, and it tries to help them stay that way. As it says on the group’s Facebook page, the Northeast Florida Princess Club is for educating and empowering young ladies.

The club meets two Saturdays a month at lunchtime. At one meeting, girls get facts that their age groups can understand about how to stay healthy and prevent HIV infection and pregnancy. At the other meeting, the girls are treated to a social outing that helps grow their feelings of self-worth, positive body image, and community.

The Princess Club was started by Healing Women, a support group for HIV-positive women. Marion Merritt started that group because she believed that more self-esteem and facts about AIDS might have helped her, and others like her, avoid having to live with HIV for more than 20 years.

The Centers for Disease Control found that some women are more likely than others to be diagnosed with HIV. For black women, the chance of becoming HIV-positive is 1 in 32. For Latinas, the number is 1 in 106, and for white women, 1 in 526. The Princess Club is trying to decrease these odds.

For more information about the Princess Club, call 904-356-1612, extension 110.

Healing Women & Men

This group is open to anyone seeking a respectful, loving environment of support.

  • First Thursday of each month
  • 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. at NFAN
  • Contact Sharon Hunter 904-446-7900

Positive Attitudes of Jacksonville

This group offers hope, friendship, and encouragement to those living with HIV/AIDS.

Positive Long Term Recovery

This is a monthly support group for positive individuals who are seeking prevention and intervention to change their relationship with HIV/AIDS and substances. It is open to any PLWHA (People Living with HIV/AIDS). 

  • 3rd Wednesday of each month
  • 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Lunch at noon
  • Contact Nathaniel Hendley at 904-253-1167 or email at Nathaniel.hendley@flhealth.gov

The BEST (Building Encouragement and Strengthening Together)

Christian Women Support Group for women infected with HIV

  • 4th Monday of each month
  • 5:00 p.m. at UF Health
  • Contact Willie at 904-308-7558 or Shirl at 904-444-0101

Community Education Luncheons

January through October, on the last Friday of every month at 12:00 p.m., NFAN holds a “lunch and learn” event at Trinity Lutheran Church.

You won’t just leave with a fuller belly, you will take information you can use to improve your life. Whether the subject is about living with HIV/AIDS or just how to feel good, be happier, keep a good attitude, or be more successful, you’ll enjoy getting together.

Trinity Lutheran Church
1415 South McDuff Ave.
Jacksonville FL 32205

The dates for the November and December Holiday Luncheons change annually but are also held at Trinity Lutheran Church. Delicious holiday meals are served and gifts abound. Reservations are requested for the holiday luncheons.