March 4, 2011
This week the wait list to receive lifesaving AIDS medication through the nation's AIDS Drug Assistance Programs grew to 6,972 people across 11 states.
The number of people waiting to receive medication through state-run AIDS drug programs has increased more than 4,000 percent since August 2009, according to the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors. Federal and state governments have reacted with little urgency, however. While President Obama's 2012 budget allots $105 million in additional dollars to the programs over 2010, it's clear that the problem will not be solved unless states significantly increase their own contributions to the programs.
To help readers keep tabs on the growing ADAP crisis, we are now posting the ADAP Watch -- the document that tracks increasing cuts to the program -- each week, and including it in our Friday morning newsletter.
AIDS Drug Assistance Programs are the state and federally funded programs that provide medication to low and middle-income people living with HIV. HIV/AIDS drugs can cost tens of thousands of dollars a year, so ADAP is a critical lifeline.
In the last two years, increasing numbers of people have tried to enroll in these programs, due in large part to increasing unemployment. However, states have less money to give to their ADAPs.
Many states have blocked ADAP enrollment and instituted wait lists. Other states have changed their ADAP eligibility requirements, cutting untold numbers from their programs and leaving many without a way to pay for medication. Lastly, some states have limited the drugs they cover. The crisis is particularly acute in Florida and across the South.
The majority of the people served by ADAPs are black and Hispanic. Many AIDS groups, including Housing Works, have launched protest after protest demanding state and federal government take action. Obama's proposed $105 million increase in federal funding for 2012 falls short of the $126 million requested by AIDS advocates to tackle the crisis.