UPDATE: Georgians urged to join National Call In Day to "Demand that President Obama address the ADAP Crisis."

Georgia to implement AIDS drug waiting list for low-income people with HIV

Georgia Equality Executive Director Jeff Graham said Saturday that Georgia will become the 11th state in the nation to have a waiting list for its AIDS Drug Assistance Program beginning July 1.

Graham announced the news Saturday at the Atlanta Pride Committee’s “Be Visible, Make A Statement Rally & Community Photo Shoot” at the state Capitol.

“You will hear, next week,  some really bad news. Georgia on July 1 will become the 11th state in the country that has a waiting list for our AIDS Drug Assistance Program. That means on July 1, people will be put on a waiting list to get the drugs to save their lives,” he said.

On Monday, Graham sent a message to Georgia Equality’s Facebook list noting that the problem with funding is coming from the federal level.

“While local advocates have been successful at preventing any cuts to the approximately $13 million the state contributes towards this program, federal funds have failed to cover the increased demand for this program,” Graham said. “Details on this waiting list have not yet been released by the Department of Community Health.”

There are currently 1,500 people in the country on a waiting list, not including those from Georgia who will be put put on the list beginning Thursday, Graham said.

AIDS Drug Assistance Programs, known as ADAPs, are funds administered through the states to provide HIV/AIDS medications to low-income people living with HIV and who have no other insurance coverage or very little coverage and is considered the “payer of last resort,” according to the Georgia Department of Community Health.

Funding for ADAP comes through the federal Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Modernization Act.

“What’s holding up the funding in Congress is, unfortunately, President Obama and the ‘Blue Dog Democrats,’ the conservative Democrats, who dont want to see any more federal funding released,” Graham said.

Graham said pressure needed to be put on state and federal government officials to fund ADAP. He also stressed that those who may test positive in the next few days get medical treatment and “not drop out of the system.”

In Monday’s Facebook message, Graham also urged Georgians to join in today’s National Call-In Day to tell President Obama to solve the “ADAP Crisis.”

Here are the details for “how you can help”:

Please call President Obama on Monday, June 28. Please see contact information below.

Call the White House at 202-456-1111 and leave the following message:

My name is ___________ and I am calling today because President Obama must address the current crisis in AIDS Drug Assistance Programs. This past weekend was National HIV Testing Day. We know that knowledge of ADAP waiting lists and other access restrictions can keep people from being tested. For many people living with HIV/AIDS these programs are the only consistent access they have to life-saving medications. However, over 1,596 HIV-positive individuals are on waiting lists to access the programs. Relief must be provided so that ADAP clients can receive their medications and additional states don’t find themselves in a similar situation.