Access to Care: the ADAP Crisis
September 22, 2010
I sat in the airport wondering what this year's USCA was going to be like. Will I meet new people or would I be alone hoping to hang out with my fellow members of the U.S. Positive Women's Network (PWN)? As I looked around, I saw Naina Khanna, Coordinator of the PWN and Director of Policy and Community Organizing at WORLD. I was so excited -- I hadn't seen her in a while and she was with Sonia Rastogi, the PWN's Communications Coordinator, and Angel Fabian from La Clinica de la Raza in Oakland, both of whom I hadn't met before. We all began talking. Soon after it was time to board the plane. It was finally time to head to Florida. Once we arrived the heat was nostalgic! I was glad for the air conditioned shuttle. As we arrived near the hotel we went through the arch that read "Welcome to Disneyworld Where All Dreams Come True." I felt like a princess amongst all the other princesses in Disney. As we arrived to the hotel there were people everywhere. We had an all-night flight and I wanted to wash and change so I would look and smell great. I looked out of the glass doors and the pool was fabulous, this being my first time at the USCA I was elated. I decided "oh well since my room is not ready ill just go to one of the workshops." The first one I picked was called "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly about Assumptions and How They Impact Community Building & Mobilization Efforts" facilitated by Vanessa Johnson, Jacque Coleman, and Steve Bailous. Vanessa greeted me with a warm welcome and sat me in a group. Jacque blew me some kisses to show her love and I felt really special. Then I looked around and I saw Barb and Kat, two other PWN Steering Committee members. Coming from San Diego, CA, our ADAP crisis has not reached the plateau of many states. Some states have waiting lists. Some people have lost their ADAP due to income levels, some people have lost their jobs. these many factors have a lot to do with the lives of individuals infected with HIV/AIDS.
While at the conference there were workshops talking about ADAP and even one of the luncheon plenary sessions was geared toward ADAP. This is a serious problem in our countyy, we are talking about eradicating the spread of HIV, however without proper medication how can we prevent this? Yes the Obama strategy has placed $20 million into ADAP for FY2011, which is spread amongst all of the cities that are providing ADAP services. Thus, $20 million is really nothing to us as a nation. There are long waiting lists (such as Florida's with over 1,000 people waiting), people aren't re-enrolling due to changes in eligibility rules, and people are loosing their ADAP for their income levels being "too high." ADAP should be automatic here in the US for people living with HIV/AIDS regardless of your income status and available to the needy. Without access to ADAP, HIV-positive individuals will soon become people living with AIDS, our rate of infection will increase, and the mobility rate will become astronomical. What will this say for the mothers who will leave their children to become orphans? If we don't continue to raise our voices as a nation, the effects of ADAP will soon be looking like the death rates of our women and children in Africa. Our children will soon become parents raising their parents due to the advancement of HIV that occurs from not being able to take medication due to a lack of funding. As a woman diagnosed 15 years ago, if I did not have access to ADAP, my quilt would be hanging up with many of the others at many conferences saying, "My mom died due to budget cuts for ADAP!"
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This article was provided by Positive Women's Network of the United States of America. Visit PWN-USA's website to find out more about their activities and publications.
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