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National Study Highlights the Financial Problems Facing the Seriously-Ill

A nationwide survey by the National Association of People of AIDS (NAPWA) finds a diminished quality of life and insufficient access to healthcare for many people living with HIV infection and AIDS.

The NAPWA survey, "HIV in America," examined the experiences of over 1,800 people with AIDS across the United States. The startling finding of the survey was that financial problems were listed by 57.3% of the respondents as their biggest day-to-day concern, making problems with personal finances the number one problem facing this group of people with AIDS. The survey report states:

"...Access to affordable healthcare (is) a continuing problem for people with HIV. The results of the survey confirm that people living with HIV and AIDS are continuing to encounter extreme difficulty in obtaining and paying for health care. Over half of the NAPWA survey respondents report an unmet need for some form of financial assistance. Over one third say they need assistance in obtaining health insurance and medicines, and a quarter of the sample say they need assistance with accessing health care services.

For those living with HIV and AIDS, the ability to obtain and pay for heathcare is just one piece of the puzzle. NAPWA respondents express a need for financial assistance with a number of services, including legal assistance (32.5%), mental health services (30%), transportation (24%), employment (20.3%), and housing (20.1%). Less than marginal income is no doubt part of the problem. Nearly three out of ten (27.7%) respondents live on less than $500 a month, and another three out of ten (28.1%) live on between $500 and $1,000 a month. When the need for financial assistance is correlated with employment (full-time, part-time or not at all), 34.6% of those that work full-time say they still need financial assistance.

In addition, over 32% of the fully employed need access to health insurance and medicines, and 16.7% need access to adequate health care. These are disturbing percentages for what should be the most financially stable and medicinally well-cared-for group of respondents (by virtue of being fully employed and therefore supposedly having access to private medical insurance coverage).

As the survey results suggest, the deficits and weaknesses in the systems of health coverage in our country, both for the insured and the uninsured, are exposing people with HIV and AIDS to financial hardship as well as to a serious lack of adequate medical care at a time when they most need it..."

Scott Wilbanks is Vice President of NVR, Inc. and a member of the Board of Directors of Affording Care.

If you would like to obtain a copy of "HIV in America," contact the National Association of People With AIDS at (202) 898-0414.

This article was provided by Affording Care.
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