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AHF Writes US Senate: Proposed AIDS Funding is “Inadequate”

AHF Writes US Senate: Proposed AIDS  Funding is “Inadequate”
from AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) email blast, September 28, 2011

Proposed $15 million increase over 2011 for AIDS Drug Assistance Program—recently approved by Senate Appropriations Committee—is not enough to help the 10,000+ people on waiting lists for medications or denied enrollment in state programs

AIDS Healthcare Foundation calls on the House to increase funding in its version of the bill

WASHINGTON D.C. (September 27, 2011)—AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today expressed disappointment with a recent Senate Appropriations Committee proposal of $900 million for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) for fiscal year 2012, which would represent a $15 million increase over fiscal year 2011.  The proposal budget comes amidst the worst crisis for the federally-funded, state-run program since its inception.  There are now nearly 9,000 patients on ADAP waiting lists and hundreds more who have been denied enrollment into the program.  In 2008, the year President Obama was elected, there were fewer than 100 patients on waiting lists.

“The Senate’s modest proposed funding increase to state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs is inadequate to address the growing AIDS drug crisis that has left more than 10,000 AIDS patients without access to lifesaving medications,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “While we appreciate that these are difficult economic times, lives are at stake.  To clear the waiting lists for one year alone would cost $88 million, with medications priced at a minimum of $10,000 per patient per year.  AHF calls on the House to increase funding in its version of the proposed bill to ensure that the thousands of Americans living with HIV/AIDS receive the health care they need.”

According to ADAP Watch published by the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD), as of September 22nd, 8,785 low-income AIDS patients in 10 states have been placed on waiting lists to access lifesaving HIV/AIDS medications through the nation’s network of ADAPs. Several states have also recently capped further enrollment in their ADAPs or are sharply reducing eligibility for their programs based on a percentage of Federal Poverty Level (FPL) income (in some cases cutting the FPL-eligible income from 400% to 200%), effectively denying needy patients access to medications.

ADAP is a federal/state funded, state run network of programs that supply lifesaving AIDS drugs to low-income Americans in need. Nationwide, ADAPs serve over 165,000 people, accounting for one third of people on AIDS treatment in the U.S. Approximately 80% of those on ADAP waiting lists reside in the South.  The crisis disproportionately impacts communities of color.

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