South Carolina Officials Support CDC Policy; but They Worry There Is Not Enough Funding for New HIV Patients
September 26, 2006
While welcoming CDC's recommendations for increased HIV testing, South Carolina health officials and HIV/AIDS advocates voiced concern over funding for tests and treatments and ways to help patients deal with unexpected positive diagnoses.
"Yes, routine testing is welcome...," said Dr. Wayne Duffus, director of HIV and STD Medicine at the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, "but once we diagnose them, we have to come up with a strategy to provide care for them, and that's where the state needs to chip in."
This year, state government contributed $500,000 to the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program -- less than 4 percent of its budget of $14.25 million. As of Sept. 20, 209 people were on the waiting list for ADAP, which serves HIV patients with little income or insurance.
In South Carolina, more than 40 percent of people with AIDS got the diagnosis less than one year after testing positive for HIV. Late diagnosis is linked to an increased risk of transmitting the virus, more expensive care and a shorter lifespan.
Maintaining a link between testing, counseling and treatment is critical, said Bambi Gaddist, executive director of the HIV/AIDS Council. "We run the risk of them getting a positive outcome, having to deal with the outcome of that test, but having no time for preparation in terms of the impact that that diagnosis will have on them and their families," she said.
The State (Columbia) 09.22.2006; Czerne M. Reid
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.