Florida: Funding Gap Threatens AIDS Drug Help
January 20, 2011
Florida's AIDS Drug Assistance Program could run out of money by mid-February, ADAP officials say. The program for low-income HIV/AIDS patients has a $14.5 million funding gap that could last until April 1, when $100 million in federal funding arrives.
"We're running out of money, and we're trying to help the patients through this six-week gap," Tom Liberti, chief of the HIV/AIDS Bureau of the state Department of Health, said Wednesday.
Liberti said he is "99 percent of the way" toward working out an agreement with drug companies to supply medicines in the interim. "We're exploring all our options," he said.
Florida's ADAP provides treatment to 10,600 patients, 3,000 of them in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. On Friday, the Miami-Dade HIV/AIDS Partnership, which advises the county, will hold an emergency meeting to determine whether to conserve resources by limiting the number of nonessential drugs, such as vitamins and aspirin, that ADAP supplies.
"At present, no patients are doing without AIDS drugs," said Dan Wall, director of the Miami-Dade Office of Grants Coordination. The situation after mid-February, however, is another story.
Liberti said state Sen. Joe Negron (R-Stuart) and other lawmakers are trying to persuade the Florida Legislature to provide more support for ADAP. In 2009, the Legislature cut state funding for ADAP by $1 million to $10.5 million. 2010 saw no additional funding appropriated for the program.
ADAP has grown by 25 percent since 2008, in part due to the poor economy. The program initiated a waiting list last June that has grown to include 2,800 people, said Liberti.
Friday's meeting will be held at the Behavioral Science Research building, 2121 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables. The public is invited; for more information, telephone 305-443-2000.
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.
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