January 31, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Florida to Drop 6500 Residents from State’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program Thousands More Continue to Wait for Life-Saving Medications
Washington, DC — Florida’s Ryan White CARE Act AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) will soon drop 6,500 residents from its rolls, an unparalleled move that raises serious concerns about the solvency of the state’s critical safety-net for low-income people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs). For months, state ADAP directors and AIDS advocates have warned legislators that our nation’s ADAP funding was wildly insufficient. This move by Florida to drastically cut its program rolls shows that the crisis has reached a tipping point.
According to the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD), almost 6,000 people are lingering on ADAP wait lists in ten states across the country. In addition, 19 states and Puerto Rico have instituted so-called “cost-containment strategies,” that include reducing formularies, capping enrollment and lowering financial eligibility. Several more may follow suit before the end of the program’s fiscal year on March 31.
“In its more than two decades, ADAP has never faced a more severe crisis,” said National Minority AIDS Council Deputy Executive Director Daniel C. Montoya. “For many low-income Americans living with HIV/AIDS, including people of color, ADAP provides the only avenue for receiving life-saving medications. Without sustained and increased funding, these programs will continue to be stretched too thin, and thousands more lives will be put at risk.”
States will not receive their allocated funds for FY2011 until April 1. Even then, the money will not go far. Despite dramatic increases in the number of Americans in need of ADAP assistance, federal funding has remained largely flat, while state contributions have decreased significantly. With a new Republican majority in the House of Representatives urging draconian cuts in spending, ensuring that these programs receive the necessary increase in funding will be an up-hill battle.
“We face significant hurdles,” continued Montoya. “The AIDS community will continue to work with the private and public sectors to ensure that everyone has access to their medications. But elected officials need to remember that without adequate funding, their constituents’ lives are at risk. These are not just numbers on a balance sheet.”
Contact: Kyle Murphy, (202) 483-6622 ext. 333