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U.S. News

Georgia: Wait Grows for HIV/AIDS Help

July 13, 2011

More than 1,600 Georgians are on the waiting list for help from the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). Among the 13 states with such a list, Georgia's list is second in length only to Florida's.

Georgia's ADAP is a nearly $46.3 million program. While the federal government's contribution remained steady last year, the state cut its allocation from $12.5 million in fiscal 2010 to $11.1 million this year. The Legislature also cut $100,000 from ADAP for fiscal 2012.

Advocates say that while most of the wait-listed low-income HIV patients are accessing their medications through other means, that process is often difficult. Drugmakers' charity programs help, but patients typically take medicines from several manufacturers, meaning they must complete multiple separate applications.

Enrolling all the patients currently on the list would take an additional $17 million. Lacking those funds, Georgia is launching a pilot program to transition patients to the federal government's program, created as part of the health insurance overhaul, to help persons with pre-existing conditions buy insurance.

However, that program's yearly cap for out-of-pocket expenses is almost $6,000, an excessive amount for someone living at or below the poverty level, said Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality. Dr. Anil Mangla, director of infectious disease and immunization at the state Division of Public Health, said Georgia will pay premiums and deductibles under the pilot program. Other efforts include using drug-assistance funds to assist Medicare Part D clients with out-of-pocket costs, and using generic drugs.

Robert MacLean was enrolled in South Carolina's ADAP but had to start from scratch when he moved to Georgia, traveling to various offices to secure the required documentation. He has applied to ADAP but has not been informed whether he is officially on the waiting list. Meanwhile, he has been off his medications since April. "My body's breaking down now," he said.

Back to other news for July 2011

Adapted from:
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
07.04.2011; Misty Williams

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
Georgia Waiting List Grows for HIV/AIDS Drugs
2014 National ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report (PDF)
ADAP Waiting List Update: 35 People in 1 State as of July 23
More on ADAP Restrictions and Waiting Lists

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