AIDS: Signs of progress, but worries about cuts

More than 9,000 people with HIV were on a waiting list for federal assistance in buying their medications in August 2011. On Monday, President Obama announced that, as of this week, that number is down to zero.

"At one time, the need was so great that over 9,000 people were on the waitlist,” said the president, at a White House ceremony Monday marking World AIDS Day. “We vowed to get those numbers down. And I’m proud to announce that, as of last week, we have cleared that waitlist. We are down to zero. And we’re going to keep working to keep it down.”

Carl Schmid, an official at the AIDS Institute who has devoted considerable voice to shining a light on that waiting list, agreed the Obama administration deserves some credit. Schmid said the administration’s re-direction of $35 million in funding to the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) two years ago “really helped” clear the waiting lists.

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Sequester could knock more than 500 Georgians off AIDS Drug Assistance Program

AIDS Drug Assistance Program

Thanks to the 5.3 percent across-the-board cut to most non-defense discretionary federal programs known as the "sequester," as many as 15,000 Americans will lose access to the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), according to a recent report released by amFAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research.

The sequester is the result of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which was initially aimed at reducing the federal deficit. After a bipartisan deficit reduction committee failed to propose a plan to reduce the deficit by the March 1 deadline, automatic budget cuts were imposed to the tune of $1.2 trillion.

Particularly hard hit are HIV/AIDS advocacy, research and prevention efforts, which are set to lose out on millions in funding over the next decade if the sequester holds, according to amFAR.

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Georgia receives $2.5 million grant for HIV prevention

The Georgia Department of Public Health has received a $2.5 million from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention to be used to help HIV-positive people not receiving medical treatment get the treatment they need.

"We're talking about people who may or may not know they're HIV-positive and for whatever reason are not in care." said J. Patrick O'Neal, director of DPH's division of health protection, in a statement. "Linking these patients with treatment is essential to reducing HIV transmission in Georgia."

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Georgia ADAP list eliminated after two years of funding battles

After topping the nation just a few months ago for the most people on an AIDS Drug Assistance Drug Program at 1,520, the state Department of Public Health announced today the list is no longer.

“The reduction of our wait list to zero is a remarkable accomplishment, especially considering where we were in 2011,” said DPH Commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald in a prepared statement.

In December, there were 1,520 people who were on the wait list for life-saving drugs used to treat HIV and AIDS — making Georgia the state with the highest number of people on an ADAP wait list.
 
“Eliminating the waiting list required extraordinary work and ingenuity,” said J. Patrick O’Neal, DPH’s director of health protection.

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Activists tweet Obama to call for ADAP expansion

HIV/AIDS advocates are taking to Twitter today to call on President Obama to end the waiting lists for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP).

According to Georgia Equality, the state's largest LGBT rights advocacy organization, Georgia has some 1,700 low-income people on the state's waiting list to receive life-saving medications. The Georgia Department of Public Health says that ADAP must be the last resort for individuals with HIV/AIDS, meaning to qualify for funds, a patient must not have health insurance or receive other state or federal health benefits that could pay for treatment.

Tweeters are asked to submit specially tagged messages to the official Twitter account for the White House, on the hour, every hour today.

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State wants $3 million to end wait list for HIV meds

Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald

Georgia’s HIV Unit hopes to eliminate the state’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program’s waiting list if it can receive a $3 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention this fall.

Some 1,718 Georgians were on the waiting list for ADAP as of Aug. 4, according to the ADAP Advocacy Association. The program helps people who are uninsured or underinsured pay for life-saving HIV medications.

Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, state commissioner of the Department of Public Health, which oversees the HIV Unit, is quick to point out that the list is not a “death sentence,” as 99 percent of people on the list are receiving needed medication through assistance from pharmaceutical companies.

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Georgia’s AIDS drug program funds ‘in the balance’ as legislature comes to a close

More than 1,000 people are currently on Georgia’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program waiting list and funding for the program is threatened with cuts, according to Georgia Equality.

In an email today titled "ADAP funds in the balance," Georgia Equality said that as of April 1, there were 1,278 people waiting to receive life-saving drugs to treat HIV and AIDS. ADAP provides the medication to low-income people who have no other options for receiving medical care.

When the state House passed its version of a budget, members cut $600,000 from ADAP. However, that money was restored by the Senate but now the funding issue sits in committee to see if the program will retain this money or not. The Georgia legislature is set to finish up April 14.

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Ga. activists demand more funding as AIDS drug wait list tops 1,000

Several HIV care providers are warning of a looming crisis for some of their poorest patients if more money cannot be found for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program this year.

Georgia’s wait list for the program now includes more than 1,000 people and represents a public health crisis, supporters of ADAP said at a press conference March 1 at the Grady Infection Disease Program office in Atlanta.

ADAP provides access to up to 60 different medications used to treat HIV, AIDS and related infections for 4,300 people in Georgia. Funded through a mix of federal and state money, the program’s $44.8 million budget is approximately $15 million short of what it needs to deal with increasing demand.