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What's New in Public Policy?

from the Information Department of Project Inform

August 2002

ATAC Save ADAP Committee Announces Critical August/September Grassroots Advocacy Campaign

The Save ADAP Committee of the AIDS Treatment Advocates Coalition (ATAC) is organizing a grassroots campaign urging Congress to support a $162 million increase for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). ADAP provides access to treatment for low-income people living with HIV/AIDS who are either uninsured or lack adequate prescription drug coverage. The program is a lifeline for thousands of people across the country who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford HIV drugs.

Right now, many state ADAPs are in a financial crisis. Twelve states are reporting restrictions to treatment access, including waiting lists, while many other states are preparing to implement restrictions in the near future. There are over 600 people on the waiting list for treatment in North Carolina alone. Severe underfunding of ADAP constitutes a public health crisis in America, not only for people living with HIV/AIDS who rely on the program for life-extending therapies, but for all Americans invested in sound health policy. The ADAP crisis is not acceptable given Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson's recent statement that "No administration in any nation has ever made fighting HIV/AIDS as high a priority as the United States under this administration".

AIDS treatment policy experts have stated that an increase of $162 million from the federal government is needed to help ease the ADAP crisis and enable states to meet the demands of those who rely on the program.

The ATAC Save ADAP Committee is an ad-hoc group of activists who want to make a difference. We know that the best way to convince Congress to act on this issue is for people to communicate directly with their own elected representatives.

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That's where you come in. We encourage you to participate in this grassroots campaign by engaging in as many of the following activities as you can:

  1. August Recess District Visits:
    Congress will be on recess from July 29-September 3. During this recess, most members of Congress will be in their home district offices. It is an excellent time to schedule a meeting with your Representative and Senators or their staff to discuss the need for adequate ADAP and other HIV/AIDS funding. So few people ever take the time to meet in person with their elected officials that these visits are one of the most effective ways to bring about positive change. They allow members of Congress to hear directly from those most affected by an issue, such as ADAP funding.

    If you are interested in scheduling a district visit, but need some help, we have created a fact sheet with tips on getting started. For a copy of this fact sheet, contact Ryan Clary at 415-558-8669 x224 or rclary@projectinform.org.

  2. "Call your District Office Week": August 26-30
    We are organizing a "call your district office week" from August 26-30. During this week, people around the country will be encouraged to call the local offices of their U.S. Representative and two U.S. Senators and ask them to support a $162 million increase for ADAP. If enough people make these calls, it will send a clear message to Congress before they go back to D.C. to make final decisions on ADAP
    funding.

  3. "Call D.C. Day": September 4
    We will welcome Congress back from their August recess with a national call-in day reminding them of our message: the urgent need for a $162 million increase for ADAP. Make sure you put this action in your calendar!

We are relying on you to be part of this important campaign. Without our united voices raised in action, Congress may well continue to underfund ADAP, putting thousands of lives at risk.

If you would like to make sure that you receive all of our upcoming Alerts, send an email to SaveADAP@hotmail.com or call Ryan Clary at 415-558-8669 x224.





  
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This article was provided by Project Inform. It is a part of the publication What's New. Visit Project Inform's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
 

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