States Cutting Costs By Wait-Listing HIV/AIDS Patients Needing Lifesaving Drugs

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Advocacy groups are outraged by some States’ recent efforts to scale back funds for AIDS drug assistance programs (ADAPs).

The Washington Post reported a record 8,300 people are now on waiting lists to receive antiretrovirals and other drugs used to treat HIV and AIDS.

“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,” Jeff Graham, executive director of the advocacy group Georgia Equality, told the newspaper.

The Deputy Executive Director of the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD), Murray Penner, said the “average annual cost for ADAP drugs is $11,388 per person, but that is significantly less than individuals trying to buy their own drugs would pay.”

The article said such measures may ultimately do more fiscal harm than good: “HIV patients who get the antiretroviral drugs are generally able to manage their disease, allowing them to continue working and keeping long-term medical costs down for the state. New research even suggests that people put on medication immediately after being diagnosed are less likely to spread the disease.”

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