Ohio: Cuts in Aid for HIV Drugs Bring New Set of Troubles
February 10, 2011
Cuts made last July to Ohio's AIDS Drug Assistance Program resulted in nearly 1,000 people being dropped off the rolls by December. Facing a $3.9 million deficit three months into the current fiscal year, ADAP instituted a waiting list, and eliminated altogether dental care, money for travel and medications unrelated to HIV.
Although the cuts and an infusion of federal money fixed last summer's dire financial situation, 390 Ohioans remain on the waiting list, the most recent figures from the National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors show. Jay Carey, management analyst for the state Ryan White program for low-income HIV/AIDS patients, says a recently awarded federal grant for $1.2 million will remove more than 100 additional people from the list.
Meanwhile, the Ohio Department of Health is working swiftly to change state rules to serve only ADAP's sickest patients. If instituted, the changes would eliminate some clients' assistance and cover the drugs of others who are currently waitlisted.
Clinics and drug companies have worked to ensure patients are getting medicines through sources other than ADAP, said Dr. John Davis, director of Ohio State University Medical Center's infectious-diseases clinic. However, Davis wonders "how long that is going to last." Columbus AIDS Task Force President Peggy Anderson said she does not know of anyone who has stopped HIV treatment since the cuts. Both Davis and Anderson worry that demands for assistance will overwhelm drugmakers, who are lobbying the federal government to provide more money to help state ADAPs.
In addition, Anderson is concerned about people who have switched medication for financial versus medical reasons. Side effects and potencies among HIV drugs vary, and changing them for reasons other than clinical ones is not ideal, she said.
02.06.2011; Misti Crane
HIV Drugs Grow Rarer, Costlier as States Falter: Financial Crises Hurt Care for the Poor in Illinois, Elsewhere in U.S.
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