May 6, 2011
Utah's ADAP is closing to new applicants in order to make up for a shortfall in expected funding, officials recently announced. New applicants will be placed on a waiting list, said Mike Lowe, the program's administrator. About 475 low-income people with HIV/AIDS currently use Utah's ADAP to access treatment, he said.
"I don't know and wouldn't even try to guess when the program will open again for new participants," said Lowe.
An appeal is being made for more federal funding, Lowe said. If that is successful, ADAP could start serving new clients in the near future. "We should know about those funds by June, and we will have another reassessment of the funding next month. We hope to be able to open the program again with the HRSA [federal Health Resource and Service Administration] funds. But we won't know for a while and until then, we just have to go with the worst-case scenario," Lowe said.
Qualifying for the waiting list requires completing the full ADAP application process, and the wait could be extensive, Lowe said. In the meantime, persons needing help should seek out the patient-assistance programs run by AIDS drugmakers.
"Those patient-assistance programs take so much work to complete and are tough as hell to find," said Toni Johnson, executive director of the People with AIDS Coalition. In addition, they require a lot of work to continue in the program, such as regularly resubmitting applications, she said.
Utah's contribution to ADAP pays for its administrative costs. "Getting money from the state is like pulling teeth, but we've all got to try," Johnson said. "Nothing is going to change unless we let [legislators] know that there's a lot of people that are interested and need these programs."