And in South Carolina……..
December 1st is World AIDS Day, a day of remembering those who lost this battle and honoring those living with HIV. In South Carolina, on this 2010 World AIDS Day, there are more than 250 people on the AIDS Drug Assistance Program [ADAP] waiting list due to inadequate funding. The S.C. HIV/AIDS Care Crisis Task Force is reaching out to legislators and people around the state for assistance in advocating for funding the South Carolina AIDS Drug Assistance Program to meet the demand for life saving medications.
The cost of HIV/AIDS drugs continues to increase, and with inadequate funding for early care and treatment of HIV/AIDS, patients will continue to suffer. With adequate funding, however, people living with HIV can stay healthier and working longer, mother to child transmission can be nearly eliminated, and new infections can be prevented. If we fail to focus on HIV prevention in South Carolina, the state will continue to see increased numbers of new HIV infections and incur the severe financial burden of care for those who are uninsured.
According to Noreen O’Donnell, Ryan White Program Manager for SC DHEC STD/HIV Division, “The South Carolina AIDS Drug Assistance Program is currently facing a funding shortfall due to cuts in federal and state budgets and an increase in demand for services. As of November 24, 2010, there are 251 patients who are HIV positive on a waiting list for drugs and that number is projected to rise to over 900 people by June 30, 2011. Without additional funding the wait list will be in place for the foreseeable future.”
ADAP is growing at a rate of 10-15% annually and serves 27% of people living with HIV in South Carolina, which is 7% greater than the national average. South Carolina must ensure the provision of $3.5 million recurring, and at least $7 million in additional state supplemental funding to maintain the continuation of federal funds for ADAP. With the current $1.8 million supplemental state contribution, the SC ADAP predicts a $10 million shortfall for FY 2011.
How can you help? Contact your state legislators, Congressmen, Senators, Governors, even the President, and demand that money for ADAP be restored and that no further cuts be accepted.
It’s the least we can do for those who need our help.