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AIDS drug waiting list shortens, but experts say numbers will rise again

The number of people on Florida’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program waiting list continues to drop, but with more than 3,200 people, the list remains the longest in the U.S.

The AIDS Drug Assistance Program (known as ADAP) provides medications for the treatment of HIV and AIDS for people who cannot afford to pay because they are unemployed, uninsured or underinsured. States have implemented a variety of cost containment measures that include waiting lists since 2010, when an ADAPs began facing an ongoing funding crisis.

According to the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (known as NASTAD), as of Nov. 3, there are almost 6,500 individuals in 12 states on an ADAP waiting list.

NASTAD adds: “Since the release of final FY2011 Ryan White grant awards in September, including $40 million in ADAP emergency relief funding for states with waiting lists or other cost-containment measures in place, some ADAPs have been able to reduce the overall number of individuals on their waiting list.”

Several HIV/AIDS advocates told The Florida Independent last week that the Sunshine State has received a number of increases worth about $7 million in funding for Ryan White, the federal program that manages ADAP dollars, but they also predicted that the number of people on the ADAP waiting list will eventually rise again.

NASTAD noted late last week that “as states remove individuals from their waiting lists, they are adding new individuals to their program. The demand for ADAP has not dwindled and ADAP waiting lists will begin to plateau and then grow, again, in the coming months.”

NASTAD concludes that AIDS Drug Assistance Programs “without any cost-containment measures currently in place, as a result of stagnant federal and state funding … are beginning to anticipate the need for cost-containment measures, and waiting lists, in the upcoming grant year (beginning April 1, 2012).”

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