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.