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Sara Giboney, KearneyHub: Nebraska AIDS assistance starts drug waiting list

Nebraska AIDS assis-tance starts drug waiting list
by Sara Giboney, Sep-tember 23, 2011

KEARNEY — Low-income Nebraskans in need of HIV medications now will have to wait for their prescriptions.

The Nebraska AIDS Drug Assistance Program is instituting a waiting list as a way to cut costs.

“What we’re seeing is that there continues to be an increase in the number of people living with HIV and this is a good thing. We have technology and doctors and medications available that can help sustain the quality of life for somebody with HIV,” said Andrew Brackett, the Nebraska AIDS Project education and event coordinator in Kearney.

“As a result we have larger numbers of people needing the medication and the numbers of new infections continue to rise in our state and all across the nation. The … level of funding that we have been receiving continues to stay the same.”

ADAPs across the country are facing funding issues in addition to seeing an increase in demand and rising drug costs.

Nebraskans not currently on ADAP who apply after Oct. 15 and current participants who do not renew during the next cycle will be placed on a waiting list to access medications.

“Anybody who is newly diagnosed or comes in needing services or prescriptions for HIV, to help manage their HIV care in order to sustain their health, the only way they can receive these services will be waiting to move up on the list,” Brackett said.

“That can be a couple of different factors,” he continued. “More funding comes in, which would help sustain the program or the unthinkable thing is that maybe someone will pass away.”

AIDS Drug Assistance Programs provide free HIV medications to under-insured and uninsured low-income individuals with HIV.

ADAPs allow low-income individuals with HIV to stay healthy, reduce the likelihood of HIV transmission and prevent people from becoming disabled by AIDS.

The University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha is the provider of ADAP in Nebraska. Qualified individuals currently receive medications either through walk-in pharmacy services at the hospital or through a mail order system.

The Nebraska ADAP has implemented a waiting list in the past.

“We’re hoping that it’s not a long-term thing, we’re hoping that we come up with some other funding sources,” Brackett said.

He said the Nebraska AIDS Project also is working to find other resources such as prescription assistance or health care assistance.

“We’re continuing to explore as many possibilities and options as we can,” he said.

As of Sept. 15, there were 8,804 people on waiting lists in 10 states.

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