National ADAP Working Group Calls for $303M Increase in Federal ADAP Spending for FY 2006
The National ADAP Working Group -- a coalition of AIDS treatment organizations, AIDS doctors and pharmaceutical companies -- on Friday said Congress needs to increase federal spending on AIDS drug assistance programs by at least $303 million in fiscal year 2006 to provide all uninsured and underinsured HIV-positive people who need treatment access to medication, CQ HealthBeat reports (CQ HealthBeat, 4/11). ADAPs are federal- and state-funded programs that provide HIV/AIDS-related medications to low-income, uninsured and underinsured HIV-positive individuals. The number of people on waiting lists nationwide for enrollment in ADAPs as of Jan. 24 was 592 in nine states, according to the latest "ADAP Watch" released in February by the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors. An additional $20 million in federal money was made available in June 2004. The funding helped to provide medications directly to HIV-positive people living in the 10 states that had waiting lists at that time -- Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/15). According to the ADAP Working Group, the Bush administration has proposed a $10 million increase in FY 2006 for federal ADAP spending (CQ HealthBeat, 4/11).
Budget, Waiting Lists
The group says that the $303 million is needed to provide highly active antiretroviral therapy -- which is a combination of three or more antiretroviral drugs -- and other medication to the more than 140,000 HIV-positive people enrolled in ADAP programs, in addition to the 25,000 to 40,000 new patients expected to seek assistance before April 1, 2007, according to an ADAP Working Group release. According to a CDC analysis released last month, there were 480,000 HIV-positive adults ages 15 to 49 in the country who needed HAART, but only 268,000 were receiving treatment, Lei Chou of the ADAP Working Group said. "An increasing number of Americans living with HIV have had problems accessing the drugs they need to stay healthy and alive over the past four years," Eric Camp of the Arkansas ADAP Working Group said, adding, "Some states, even states that contribute substantial ADAP funding from their own budgets, have had large waiting lists almost continuously" for years. Camp added, "Other states have never created waiting lists ... because some states readjust program eligibility levels or reduce the number of drugs their ADAP covers in order to avoid running out of funds. This is no way to run a lifesaving safety net" (ADAP Working Group release, 4/8). HHS spokesperson William Pierce said, "Fighting HIV/AIDS is a top priority for the Bush administration as evidenced by the current budget proposal, which calls for a 4.7% increase in funding for the ADAP program at a time with the overall HHS discretionary budget request is only 1.2%" (CQ HealthBeat, 4/11).