South Carolina: Death Number Four
AIDS Drug Waiting List Claims Another Life; Budget & Control Board Meets Tuesday -- Call Gov. Mark Sanford Monday!
December 8, 2006
That brings the total to four deaths since SC started a waiting list for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program last June. At least 324 people are on the waiting list now -- up from 313 two weeks ago.
A press conference has been called for this Sunday at the Governor's Mansion in Columbia, where local people living with HIV/AIDS will demand action from SC Governor Mark Sanford.
Zap of the Week: Call SC Gov. Mark Sanford at 803-734-2100Governor Mark Sanford needs to hear that the AIDS community is watching and failure to act is a national scandal. Call the Governor at 803-734-2100 and tell him to make a request Tuesday's Budget and Control Board meeting for $3 million in emergency state funding for ADAP.
Our Lives Are In Their HandsAIDS activists from South Carolina and around the world have called on state officials to provide $3 million in emergency funding to end the waiting lists. But so far, they haven't acted.
"The Department of Health and Environmental Control has so far refused to put a request in to our Budget and Control Board for emergency AIDS funds," says Karen Bates, Co-Chair of the South Carolina Campaign to End AIDS (SC-C2EA). "They did, however, request a million dollars for a facility to store bird flu vaccine."
"Now, there have been no bird-flu-related deaths in South Carolina, but we do have people dying of AIDS," said Bates. "Our most vulnerable people are dying: poor people, people of color, women and young people. It will take emergency funding to get people off the wait list, out of the hospital and away from the grave. Commissioner Hunter and DHEC can ask for the money. Governor Sanford and the BCB can appropriate it. Our lives are in their hands."
South Carolina's Budget and Control Board can appropriate the funds or reorganize the DHEC budget even without the Department's request or blessing.
Advocates are looking to State Treasurer Grady Patterson to put emergency funding for ADAP on the agenda for the Tuesday meeting of the Budget and Control Board. While working with state and federal legislators to win ADAP funding as part of next year's budgets, they say they need the emergency funds to save lives now.
Kelly's StoryKelly is one of 324 South Carolinians currently waited listed for life-saving medications. She says when she was put on the list, she thought she had time, but "in that three to four month period, I went from having HIV to AIDS." Right now, Kelly is back in the hospital and is not sure when or how she will reliably access treatment.
Kelly and others cannot afford to wait on legislative calendars. Next Tuesday's 10 AM meeting of the state Budget and Control Board offers a chance for immediate action.
Schedule Of Events
On Monday, December 11, Call the Governor!
Governor Mark Sanford needs to hear that the AIDS community is watching and failure to act is a national scandal. Call the Governor at 803-734-2100 and tell him to make a request Tuesday's Budget and Control Board meeting for $3 million in emergency state funding for ADAP.
This article was provided by Housing Works. It is a part of the publication Housing Works AIDS Issues Update. Visit Housing Works' website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.