HIV/AIDS Advocates Urge Congress to Support $303 Million Increase in Federal Funding for ADAPs
May 6, 2005
HIV/AIDS advocates, patients and experts on Thursday during a legislative briefing on AIDS Drug Assistance Programs urged members of Congress to support a $303 million increase in federal funding for ADAPs, CQ HealthBeat reports (CQ HealthBeat, 5/6). ADAPs are federal- and state-funded programs that provide HIV/AIDS-related medications to low-income, uninsured and underinsured HIV-positive individuals (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/21). Advocates at the briefing asked legislators to add their signatures to a letter sent by Reps. Mary Bono (R-Calif.) and Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) to House Appropriations Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee Chair Rep. Ralph Regula (R-Ohio). The letter, which already has been signed by more than 100 House members, asks the House to approve the requested $303 million in additional funding. Advocates said a minimum of $303 million is needed in fiscal year 2006 to provide antiretroviral drugs to all HIV-positive people in the United States who need them. Federal and state funding shortfalls are making it "increasingly likely that thousands of low-income HIV patients will suffer" and not have access to antiretroviral medication, the advocates said, according to CQ HealthBeat. Louisiana AIDS Director Beth Scalco said the estimate does not include increases in the amount or types of medications available to HIV/AIDS patients. Scalco discussed the "variety of pressures" facing ADAP directors across the country, including rising drug costs and increases in the number of patients who need coverage, factors that are forcing many states to adopt cost-containment measures, including waiting lists, CQ HealthBeat reports (CQ HealthBeat, 5/6).
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