D Gregory Smith

ADAP Wait List Passes 9,000

Filed By D Gregory Smith | August 16, 2011 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: ADAP, ADAP Action, drug assistance, HIV/AIDS, medication, prevention, Ryan White, state legislatures, treatment, treatment is prevention

Our nation's AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP) are facing an Thumbnail image for HIV medsunparalleled crisis, unlike any we've seen in their two decades of serving people living with HIV/AIDS. A perfect storm of economic upheaval, increased enrollment and state and federal budget deficits have led to ever-expanding wait lists in a number of states and various "cost containment" measures in many others.

As of August 4th - and for the first time ever - the number of people lingering on AIDS Drug Assistance Program wait lists passed 9,000. A total of 9,039 people in 13 states are now unable to access their medications via the programs, which provide drugs to under and un-insured individuals who are not eligible for other programs such as Medicaid.

What's more, Alabama, which already had a wait list, has reduced its program's formulary, while Illinois, which already had expenditure caps, has lowered its program's financial eligibility to 300% the Federal Poverty Level.

This brings the total number of states that have enacted "cost-containment" measures to eighteen, plus Puerto Rico.

What Is ADAP?

Part of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, ADAP is a payer of last resort, providing low-income, uninsured and underinsured individuals living with HIV/AIDS life-saving medications. This program is critically important considering that only about 17% of people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. have access to private insurance, and Medicaid requires that a person be disabled by AIDS before being eligible. Without ADAP, many enrollees would have no other way to access their drugs.

This growing crisis threatens the health and continuity of our nation's response to the epidemic, especially considering recent scientific data showing that people who adhere to their drug therapies are up to 96% less likely to transmit the virus to others.

Treatment is prevention- and that's why this wait list is especially abhorrent. It shows that the stigma and shameful nature of this disease- especially in the eyes of lawmakers- are still very much with us.

To see which states have ADAP wait lists, click here.

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Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | August 17, 2011 3:56 AM

There are no excuses here. Without these drugs people will get sick, suffer greatly and eventually die.

If they die they will have been murdered by a government and politicians unfit to govern by virtue of being unable to protect the lives of American citizens and residents.

One minor correction, Gregory:

... and Medicaid requires that a person be disabled by AIDS before being eligible.

Medicaid is a federal program that grants health care funds to the states, then the states, within certain federal guidelines, administer those funds as that state sees fit. Thus, Medicaid rules vary widely from state to state -- and I know the statement above is not true for Indiana or California (the two states where I myself have once been on Medicaid), but may be true for some states. So, Greg, I expect your statement needs to drill down a bit more carefully.

As for ADAP, the folks in Indiana are using these funds in what I would say a wise manner. They are used to cover an individual entering the HIV care system while he or she is being processed into the correct long-term program. That way, the newly diagnosed individual gets medications almost immediately, and it incentivizes the state bureaucracy to process the individual quickly and get them off ADAP as quickly as possible. I consider this a model system for state-level HIV care, but this approach has not received the national attention that it deserves.

Nationally, the ADAP wait lists create a situation that we cannot tolerate. We need to resurrect ACT-UP, under that name or any other name, and renew our campaigns of direct action. We cannot afford to be totally distracted by marriage equality and/or DADT repeal and/or ENDA -- this is a situation where we must be able to walk and chew gum at the same time.

Thank you AJ- the sentence should have read "low income and/or disabled".
A helpful fact sheet:

AJ, in most states you are correct that to be eligible for Medicaid an individual must have a disabling condition.

New York's Medicaid however stands apart where only an HIV-diagnosis accompanied with low-income and uninsured status deem you eligible. For years AIDS advocates have been working to advance the Early Treatment for HIV/AIDS Act (ETHA) which allows states to follow a similar model as New York's for access to care and treatment. If states like Florida expanded access to the state's medicaid program, the ADAP wait list would not be as high as it is.

Ok as I understand Medicaid and ADAP in my state Medicaid will not cover aids drugs as they are too expensive so I have to keep my ADAP in order to get my HIV meds thats my understanding as for the rest I have contacted my sister who is a state rep and the democratic party of sedgwick county they are going to help with getting a petition started to get the budget for HIV/AIDS drugs assistace programs more funding. as for how people or states run things as far as I know there is no wait list here in Ks. California I couldnt even get on adap when I moved back thier there was allot of issues for me with thier system I thought I could just transfer everything out thier but it wasnt that simple.So the only place I can speak on is here in KS I dont understand all the beaureucratic policies but I know enough people that do and can get things written that well I can get an action started and I can speak thats my gift public speaking so I am going to go out and get this started and then speak for it and then try to get it sent to the president or who ever the guys at the KSDEMS office will tell me who it needs to go to but its rolling guys it will get done and as I am a persistant person and I have an in in the KS house I think they will start the ball rolling as for anything else guys find me on FB and contact me there thanks all...* ok and sorry for the mispellings I am not going back to correct everything *