Georgia: AIDS Program at Capacity
July 29, 2010
Georgia has closed its AIDS Drug Assistance Program to new enrollees. A projected 125 patients will be added to the ADAP waiting list each month, and the tally could reach 1,300 by year's end without additional funding, according to state health officials.
The program, which receives $12 million in state funding and $33 million in federal money, needs another $11 million to meet additional demand, the Georgia Department of Community Health reports. Georgia's high unemployment rates have prompted more patients to seek out ADAP, with enrollment up 17 percent in the past year, officials said. With 5,700 enrollees, ADAP is now at capacity.
"Our funding has not decreased in Georgia, but because of the economic situation, many people have lost insurance," said Dr. Anil Mangla, director of infectious disease for the state Division of Public Health.
"It's an immediate impact," said Lola Thomas, executive director of the AIDS Alliance of Northwest Georgia in Cartersville. "The numbers continue to increase of people needing assistance through the program."
Current ADAP enrollees will not lose their benefits, provided they regularly pick up their medications and requalify every six months, according to advocates.
Mangla said pharmaceutical firms have agreed to provide assistance to HIV/AIDS patients placed on the waiting list. Individuals should apply to the program to receive a denial letter, which can then be used to apply for drug company assistance.
The Obama administration recently announced $25 million for states with ADAP waiting lists, which numbered 13 as of July 23, according to the National Association of State & Territorial AIDS Directors. Georgia officials hope some of the relief money will help them re-open enrollment but have no estimate as to when that might happen, said Mangla.
Chattanooga Times Free Press
07.16.2010; Emily Bregel
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