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ADAPs Running Low on Funds
  Below are articles on two more States reporting severe money shortages for ADAP, the State program in each on the US States that provides HAART & HIV medications for thousands of HIV-infected individyals. For two years now this problem has been building momentum and increasing numbers of States are cutting services, access to care & treatment, and the problem as related below may cut into overall Ryan White Care Act funding for numerous other HIV services besides access to HAART medications. from Jules Levin, NATAP
"Money Running Low for Care of HIV/AIDS"Santa Fe New MexicanMarch 15, 2004Deborah Davis
The New Mexico Health Department anticipates a $1.3 million shortfall in its AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) for the fiscal year ending June 30. In its last session, the state Legislature failed to pass a $2 million ADAP funding bill.
The state Health Department has decided it will not be able to supply future new medications, but it opposes creating a waiting list unless it is absolutely necessary, said Don Torres, the state's AIDS director.
Gov. Bill Richardson's health advisor, Jessica Sutin, discussed possible solutions with the Health Department and the New Mexico POZ Coalition, a Santa Fe-based HIV patient lobby for AIDS funding. As a short-term fix, they decided to spend next year's money from the federal Ryan White CARE Act to pay for ADAP this year.
Starting next month, Torres and his division plan to hold town-hall meetings to get advice from AIDS patients on which services - such as case management, nursing, mental-health counseling, food-bank services, medications and insurance - are crucial to them. While Torres has no specific service cuts outlined yet, he thinks the state will have to cut staff and caseloads will be larger.
Southwest CARE Center Director Dave Barrett is following the funding crisis, as 58 percent of the center's $2.5 million budget comes from the state. The clinic's services, he believes, are helping people stick to their medication regimens in spite of mental-health and financial barriers.
States are penalized for keeping patients healthier, Torres said, because federal funding is based on the number of fully developed AIDS cases. New Mexico gets less, he said, because of its emphasis on keeping HIV-positive people on the medications that can prevent them from progressing to AIDS.
"State's AIDS Drug Assistance Program Suffers Cut as Waiting List Grows"
Associated PressMarch 18, 2004Samira Jafari
Alabama's HIV Commission is asking the state Legislature to allocate $5 million, up from $1.76 million, for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) to help treat the more than 300 mostly minority patients who are on its waiting list. The request by the commission's chair, Rep. Laura Hall (D-Huntsville), was made Thursday and is supported by the legislative Black Caucus, which is making the funding issue a priority this session.
Thirty to 40 new HIV/AIDS patients are added to the waiting list - already the nation's longest - every month, and the commission anticipates the list will include more than 500 patients by next fiscal year.
In the last fiscal year, the Legislature cut ADAP funding from $2.9 million to $1.76 million. The federal Ryan White CARE Act provides $9 million for Alabama's ADAP, bringing the state's AIDS programs up to a total of $13 million annually. But in order to maintain federal support, each year the state has to prove that it spent as much on HIV programs as the preceding year. Last year, Alabama documented money it spent on prison treatments and so remained eligible to receive federal funding despite the cutback.
Another year of cuts to HIV/AIDS programs could jeopardize federal funding and ultimately eliminate ADAP, said Hall. And while Hall said that receiving $5 million is unlikely during Alabama's budget crunch, ADAP could cope if last year's funding was restored to $2.9 million.
Alabama's ADAP provides HIV/AIDS treatment to 1,342 low-income HIV patients who have no insurance at a cost of about $10,500 annually. Each untreated patient would cost the state $100,000 each year, according to an Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield estimate. Though blacks comprise only one-quarter of Alabama's population, 70 percent of the state's estimated 12,000 HIV cases are black.
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