Other Routes to HIV Drug Assistance
March 2, 2011
About one-third of US HIV/AIDS patients, more than 160,000 people, rely on AIDS Drug Assistance Programs for their antiretrovirals (ARVs) and related medications. ADAPs are run by individual states, largely with funds supplied by the federal government.
But the federal contribution has fallen to 49 percent of ADAP's cost, down from 72 percent in 2005, and states have been unable to make up the difference. Concurrently, demand for ADAP assistance has grown -- thanks to factors including longer patient lifespans, higher drug costs, the poor economy, and federal guidelines recommending earlier treatment. Estimates suggest the program is underfunded by $126 million to $180 million.
As a result, many states have enacted cost-containment measures, including placing ADAP applicants on waiting lists. The National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) reports that as of Feb. 24, 6,704 patients were on ADAP waiting lists.
AIDS advocates are hopeful the US Senate follows the lead of the House, which on Feb. 18 voted to divert $42 million in federal funds to move patients from waiting lists into treatment.
Experts recommend the following steps for persons experiencing difficulty accessing ARVs:
Los Angeles Times
02.28.2011; Francesca Lunzer Kritz
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