States Cutting Back On Drug Programs For HIV Patients
(BlackDoctor.org) — Cash-strapped states across the country are scaling back efforts to provide life-saving medicines to HIV patients.
The result: more than 8,300 people – a record number — are on waiting lists in 13 states to get antiretrovirals and other drugs used to treat HIV and AIDS or its side effects, mental health conditions or opportunistic infections. And that number probably sharply understates the need, say advocates, who note that many states have simply eliminated waiting lists or reduced eligibility. ??
“States that have changed their eligibility programs or don’t have a waiting list, or some states have disenrolled their patients, that’s a kind of silent crisis, I think,” said Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, an advocacy group on gay issues. His state holds the second highest number of patients on a waiting list—1,520. ????
In recent weeks: ??
–Illinois tightened the eligibility for the state program that helps HIV patients pay for their medications. On July 1, the cutoff for the program will fall from an annual income of 500 percent of the federal poverty level, or $54,450, to $32,670. ??
–Georgia cut $100,000 from its program, which serves 4,300 people. ??