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National News

Arkansas Gets $4 Million for AIDS Effort

April 12, 2002

Arkansas will receive close to $4.4 million from the US Department of Health and Human Services to provide prescription drugs, medical care and support services for HIV/AIDS patients. About $1.8 million will provide case management and baseline medical services for an estimated 1,200 patients with HIV/AIDS. Nearly $2.6 million will go to provide medication for about 330 poor patients without Medicaid or private insurance.

The grant also requires the state to allocate about $20,000 toward an AIDS initiative for minorities. State Health Department officials said they will spend $64,000 of the grant toward addressing health disparities in 11 counties: Crittenden, Cross, Lonoke, Lee, Mississippi, Monroe, Prairie, Pulaski, St. Francis, and Woodruff. Health officials estimate there are about 1,700 people in the state with AIDS.

The Health Department has worked to manage its HIV services program more efficiently after criticism last fall over a $725,760 grant for AIDS medicines that the state did not receive. "We were not qualified for that funding," said Lola Thrower, HIV services program coordinator for the Health Department, adding that federal officials require states to demonstrate more assistance is needed for patients in the program. Health officials found the program had sufficient funding.

In January, the program still had $1 million for AIDS drugs to complete the fiscal year ending June 30th. Additional state help will provide $661,000 for the state's 2001 and 2002 fiscal years. As a result, Thrower said that in January, the waiting list of 98 patients who qualified for AIDS medication in the Arkansas Drug Assistance Program was eliminated. Leftover program funding will go toward creating a stockpile of AIDS medications, Thrower said. "Probably by October we will have used up the stockpile but will still have $2.5 million left" from the new grant, said Thrower. "That's why we are saying we won't be hurting for resources."


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Adapted from:
Associated Press

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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.
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