Minnesota: AIDS Drugs Program Faces Cuts
June 21, 2004
Minnesota's AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) is running short of funds, prompting state officials to consider a waiting list for future low-income patients needing the program. Beginning July 1, patients will have to contribute up to 7 percent of their income to stay on the program, and pay up to $20 a month for their drugs.
Critics worry the cutbacks could cause some patients to abandon treatment and undermine AIDS control efforts. The state ADAP helps over 1,200 state residents with HIV/AIDS pay for their medicine.
A waiting list "would really be at the bottom of our list of things that we would want to do," said Shirley York, director of the HIV/AIDS division at the Minnesota Department of Human Services. There are no current plans to institute a wait list, she added. But York said such a list could not be ruled out unless the Legislature comes up with an extra $10 million to cover the expected shortfall over the next three years.
A survey released this month showed that 11 states already have ADAP waiting lists, and 10 others are cutting program benefits.
About one in four Minnesotans with HIV/AIDS gets some help from ADAP. Since 2001, the number of patients in Minnesota's ADAP has grown by about 50 percent while the state contribution has dropped by about 1 percent. The federal government pays for three-fourths of Minnesota's ADAP, with the state paying the rest, for a total of $4.2 million this year.
State officials had asked for more money this year, but a budget impasse in the Legislature prevented action on their request. State officials said it was more prudent to impose some costs rather than cut back services. State officials expect to raise about $777,000 next year from the imposed fees.
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.