Join Us for the ADAP Emergency Supplemental Campaign!
The SAVE ADAP Committee of the AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition thanks everyone who worked hard this past year advocating for adequate funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program. While we have fallen far short of getting the money needed, we have succeeded in educating Congress about the importance of this lifesaving program. Your calls, letters, emails, and meetings with your elected officials have played a major role in this success.
Below is an update on the current status of ADAP appropriations and information about our upcoming advocacy campaign aimed at getting an emergency supplemental to help relieve the current ADAP crisis. We hope that you will continue to join us in this fight and that you will encourage others to do the same. This is an election year, which means that many legislators are more accessible to their constituents. We must take advantage of this by making 2004 a year of massive grassroots advocacy focused on demanding the funds needed to ensure access to treatment for everyone who needs it.
Thank you again for all your hard work. Please look for Alerts in the coming weeks with more details on how you can get involved. To make sure you receive these Alerts, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with "subscribe" in the subject field.
Update on Fiscal Year 2004 Appropriations
Congress has yet to complete work on the Fiscal Year 2004 appropriations bill. Because the fiscal year began on October 1, 2003, Congress has passed a series of "continuing resolutions" to keep programs funded until it can pass a final bill.
It does not look like ADAP will get an adequate increase in the FY '04 appropriations bill, however. The joint House/Senate conference committee approved a $35 million increase, far short of the $215 million identified as needed to alleviate the ADAP crisis. The full House of Representatives approved this recommendation by the conference committee, and the Senate is expected to vote shortly.
Because ADAP is likely to receive such an inadequate increase, SAVE ADAP is focusing immediately on a campaign to ask for an emergency supplemental appropriation of $180 million. This means that we are asking the Bush Administration and Congress to pass a bill authorizing the immediate spending of an additional $180 million for ADAP for the current fiscal year. This could happen as a separate bill, or more likely as an amendment to another emergency supplemental bill.
The Emergency Supplemental Campaign
The SAVE ADAP emergency supplemental campaign has begun and there are several ways you can get involved. Below are some of the activities.
Week of January 12: "ADAP Emergency Visibility Week." Members of Congress were called this week to demand an emergency supplemental for ADAP. Congress needs to hear from us that its lack of leadership is resulting in waiting lists and other restrictions to treatment access. We also started circulating an organizational sign-on letter urging the Bush Administration and Congress to provide an emergency supplemental.
Our goal is to obtain 1,000 organizational signatures on this letter by urging local ASO, clinics, etc. to add their names. Contact your local AIDS organization and urge them to sign.
Week of January 19: "Pill Bottle campaign." SAVE ADAP will mail an empty pill bottle to each Member of Congress with a message inside demanding an emergency supplemental. Everyone is encouraged to participate in this campaign by sending their own empty bottles with a personal message inside once a month to their elected officials. Look for more details in upcoming Alerts.
February 23-25: SAVE ADAP Lobby Day. Members and supporters of SAVE ADAP and other advocates will go to Washington, D.C., to meet with Representatives and Senators to identify champions for an ADAP emergency supplemental. Scholarships for this event are available, with priority going to ADAP clients, people on ADAP waiting lists, women, people of color, PWA/HIVs, and frontline service providers living in one of the following ADAP crisis states (Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming). To receive a scholarship application, contact Lei Chou at email@example.com.
These are just a few of the activities that you can participate in to make 2004 the year that Congress decides to show leadership and fund ADAP at an adequate level. Please take a few minutes to read over our Alerts in the coming weeks and help us make a difference!
The SAVE ADAP Committee is a Working Group of the AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition (ATAC), a national coalition of AIDS treatment activists and policy advocates. Working in conjunction with ADAP clients and service providers on the grassroots level, Save ADAP aims to ensure adequate funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program. For more information, go to www.atac-usa.org/adap.html, or email Ryan Clary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This article was provided by Gay Men's Health Crisis. It is a part of the publication GMHC Treatment Issues. Visit GMHC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.