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Not disabled, no ins., off meds for 4 yrs., low income, need help
Mar 29, 2002

I was diagnosed HIV+ 5 years ago. At the time I had COBRA insurance and was being treated by Dr. Louis Sloan, MD. at Baylor Hospital in Dallas, TX. My insurance expired after the first year of treatment and I've not had any kind of treatment since. When I tried get help from my local AIDS Resource center, I was told that I must go through my local community hospital. My local community hospital wants a letter of disability in order to treat me at a lower cost. I am not disabled. Since I work, they want to charge me full price for treatment, which I cannot afford. It has been four years since I've recieved any kind of treatment. I don't even know what my counts are or where I stand at this time. After paying my monthly bills, I do not have enough to pay for the treatment that I know I need. I have been trying for the last four years to find treatment in Dallas and have been unsuccessful. PLEASE, any advice you can offer is needed and will be greatly appreciated. HELP!!!!!

Sincerely, Michael McLaughlin

Response from Ms. Donnelly

Your problem is a very difficult one. I have to assume that your local AIDS resource center has given you all the health care options they know about in the area. I don't know if you have looked at all your options for private health insurance and whether you could afford the premium or whether you have access to insurance. That might be one avenue for you to explore, particularly if your employer offers insurance.

You don't mention your income level but you should check to see if you qualify for the Texas AIDS Drug Assistance Program. ADAPs are set up to cover the cost of some prescription drug for eligible people who can't otherwise afford the drugs. Finally you may want to explore the pharmaceutical Patient Assistance Programs. They also have income limitations (which are not public) and they can be a little difficult to use since you generally have to reapply fairly often and each company runs its own program so you may have to go to a couple of companies in order to get each of the treatments you need for an effective combination therapy. Both ADAP and the PAPs require a prescription so you do have to have the cooperation of your medical provider.

If you need assistance exploring these possibilities, call the Project Inform hotline at 1-800-822-7422 for more information.

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