Columbia State Examines State of South Carolina’s ADAP
The Columbia State on Thursday examined South Carolina's AIDS Drug Assistance Program (Reid, Columbia State, 7/13). ADAPs are federal- and state-funded programs that provide HIV/AIDS-related medications to low-income, uninsured and underinsured HIV-positive individuals (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/14). According to the State, the program receives 4% of its budget from the state government, 87% from the Ryan White CARE Act -- the largest federal program that helps pay for medicine, medical services and other assistance for HIV-positive people -- and the remainder from other sources. Although the program's $14.25 million annual budget is aimed at providing medication to 1,350 people monthly, the program helps an average of 1,493 people monthly, the State reports. U.S. Sen. Richard Burr (R- N.C.) in May called for changes in funding calculations under the CARE Act that would affect the distribution of funding to states without many large urban areas, such as South Carolina. Currently, several bills have been introduced in congress that would amend and reauthorize the CARE Act (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/14). According to Lynda Kettinger, director of the STD/HIV Program in the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, 55 ADAP applicants were placed on a waiting list in June, and that number might increase. She added that an additional $3 million is needed to keep new applicants off the waiting list until March 2007, when the fiscal year ends. According to the State, some health officials, health care providers and advocates are concerned that Congress will not allocate enough funding to the CARE Act to meet existing and future needs. "I think [ADAP] does a nice job of providing medications for high-risk, disproportionately affected populations," such as blacks and HIV-positive people living in rural areas, Kent Stock of Lowcountry Infectious Diseases, said, adding, "I think it's imperative that we not only maintain the current level of funding but that we increase it." The state health department is considering shortening the list of drugs provided to new patients and purchasing less expensive drugs, the State reports (Columbia State, 7/13).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.