Pic via dbmathews.com

The waiting list to enroll in Florida’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program grew to almost 1,200 (.pdf) people in early January, according to the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors, known as NASTAD.

The AIDS Drug Assistance Programs, known as ADAPs, serve more than 226,000 clients as a nationwide payer of last resort for people who cannot afford their HIV/AIDS medications. In June 2011, about 60 percent of clients served were uninsured.

Michael Ratner and Kenneth Keeton told The Florida Independent that without the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, they would probably get sick and die.

ADAPs have been in a funding crisis since 2010, which prompted many states, including Florida, to implement cost-containment measures such as waiting lists. Florida’s ADAP had the longest waiting list in the U.S. through 2011.

The most recent update of the National ADAP Monitoring Project (.pdf), issued Tuesday by NASTAD, explains that through 2011 and “as a result of the nation’s continued economic crisis, more Americans living with HIV are relying on public health safety net programs, including ADAP, as a vital resource for medications.”

The report lists ADAP emergency federal funding, agreements to reduce and/or freeze prices with pharmaceutical companies on their products, as well additional ADAP funds announced in December by the Obama administration. It also warns that “the demand for ADAP has not dwindled and ADAP waiting lists will likely plateau and grow again in the coming months,” adding that even ADAPs “without any cost-containment measures currently in place, as a result of inadequate federal and state funding are beginning to anticipate the need for cost-containment measures, and waiting lists” in 2012.

The NASTAD report indicates that the majority of ADAP clients live in states with the highest number of people living with HIV: California, New York, Texas, Florida, and New Jersey accounted for 47 percent of the total 2010 enrollment, and “the distribution is similar for clients served in June 2011.”

That same month, African-Americans and Hispanics represented 59 percent (32 percent and 27 percent, respectively), and whites comprised 35 percent of ADAP clients served, while 78 percent of ADAP clients served were men.

According to the report, the national ADAP budget “grew to $1.88 billion” in the fiscal year 2011, “an increase of approximately $100 million over” the fiscal year 2010. The vast majority of ADAP dollars are provided by the federal government.

Florida’s 2011 ADAP budget totaled more than $114 million, a 10 percent increase over 2010. The state provided about $10 million, or nine percent of that money.

In 2010, the Sunshine State’s ADAP had, according to the report, almost 16,000 clients enrolled, with more than 14,300 served. The report clarifies that “for some states, enrolled clients reported may be a snapshot in time rather than a cumulative unduplicated client count.”

In June 2010, Florida’s ADAP had over 11,800 clients enrolled, by June 2011 that number fell to 9,800, of which about 8,400 were actually served. About 38 percent of those served were African-American, 29 percent were white and 31 percent were Hispanic. Almost half of those clients made less than 100 percent of the federal poverty level.

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