HIV Drugs Begin to Lose Funding in Some State Budgets

May 26, 2011, 11:37 by R.E. Christian

Because of the recession, some U.S. states are cutting anti-retroviral medications for patients with HIV, advocates for gay issues say.

"States that have changed their eligibility programs or don't have a waiting list, or some states have disenrolled their patients, that's a kind of silent crisis, I think," Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, an advocacy group on gay issues, told the Washington Post.

Florida has 3,938 people on the AIDS drug assistance programs waiting list, the highest number in the country, followed by 1,520 in Georgia.

ADAPs, pay for human immunodeficiency virus medications for low-income patients, who can't afford the drugs, don't have insurance, or have insurance coverage that does not include the cost of the HIV drugs that can keep the disease from progressing.

Via the Ryan White Care Act, the federal government pays about $885 million annually for most of the ADAP drugs -- the average annual cost for ADAP drugs is $11,388 per person -- but many states supplement this funding.

However, the recession has resulted in more people seeking help in funding because they have lost their jobs and healthcare insurance, the advocates said.

Most who do not get into ADAP programs find other sources of help through charitable donations or donations by pharmaceutical companies, but the Washington Post and Kaiser Health News report these programs can only go as far as the donations and the recipients must reapply frequently.

Source: UPI