On July 1, Georgia instituted a waiting list for its AIDS Drug Assistance Program, a program that helps low-income people get their needed medication to stay alive. During July, 240 people were added to the ADAP waiting list, making Georgia now the state with the second largest waiting list in the country, according to the National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors.

Georgia now second in nation for those on ADAP waiting list for HIV meds

The average cost for HIV medication in Georgia is $933 a month, or about $11,000 a year, according to the Georgia Department of Community Health.

Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, is a longtime Atlanta HIV/AIDS activist and said through the auspices of the Georgia HIV Advocacy Network, the group is now in the process of launching a “SAVE ADAP” postcard campaign.

“We’re hoping to collect as many postcards as possible over the next six weeks and hand deliver them to our Senators and various members of Georgia’s Congressional delegation when several of us will be in D.C. at the end of September,” he said in an email.

The Georgia ADAP Task Force, a working group of community advocates, people living with HIV/AIDS, service providers, governmental agencies and pharmaceutical companies, has also been reconvened, Graham said.

NASTAD also reports that as of July 29, there were 2,359 people on ADAP waiting lists in 13 states, including Georgia.

“This is a 65 percent increase from the 1,431 individuals on the June 2010 ADAP Watch. Sixteen ADAPs, seven with current waiting lists, have instituted additional cost- containment measures since April 1, 2009 (reported as of July 22, 2010). In addition, 13 ADAPs, including three with current waiting lists, reported they are considering implementing new or additional cost-containment measures by the end of ADAP’s current fiscal year (March 31, 2011),” according to a NASTAD report.

States with waiting lists and how many individuals are on the waiting lists:

Florida: 925
Georgia: 240
Hawaii: 14
Idaho: 29
Iowa: 111
Kentucky: 225
Louisiana: 219
Montana: 22
North Carolina: 186
Ohio: unknown individuals
South Carolina: 238
South Dakota: 23
Utah: 126

ADAP is a program that helps those who are low-income, without insurance or are underinsured get the needed medications to treat HIV/AIDS. The program does not include other services, such as case management, nutritional counseling, housing, mental health or substance abuse programs, Graham said, and those diagnosed with HIV can still receive these services.