Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Relief: Obama Administration To Continue ADAP Funding At Previous Levels

With all the talk of debt ceilings and drastic budget cuts, HIV positive individuals like myself have been eyeing AIDS Drug Assistance Program funding nervously, hoping the federal money that allows us to get our life-saving medication cheaply would continue unhindered.  Good news came this week via an announcement of the AIDS Institute, stating that funding would remain at last year's levels.  This is especially good news for Florida, who has thousands of patients dying on ADAP waiting lists:

"'We are pleased the Obama Administration heard our objections and those of others in Florida that its decision to limit the level of emergency ADAP funding to less than what it received last year would have forced the state to remove people currently taking medications from the program.' commented Michael Ruppal, Executive Director of The AIDS Institute.

"Today, the federal government issued a clarification that allows states, particularly Florida, to receive at least as much as they received in emergency ADAP funding last year rather than be limited to only $3 million. Last year, Florida received $7 million in emergency ADAP funds.

"'Despite the doubling of emergency ADAP funding from $25 to $50 million, Florida will basically be restricted to receiving the same level as last year despite having the largest waiting list in the country.' added Ruppal.'

The announcement is quick to point, however, that the situation in Florida is still dire:

"Florida currently has over 3,680 people on the ADAP waiting list, which represents 42% of the wait lists nationwide. 'This new clarification means that Florida will only be eligible to receive up to 18% of the competitive portion of the emergency resources. While this will help keep people currently taking medications now on the program it will not reduce the wait list, which is growing each month.' added Ruppal."

So for at least one more year, the situation at least won't get measurably worse.  However, it's important that AIDS advocates continue pushing for more funding in order to halt AIDS-related deaths in the US.

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