Thousands of Americans With HIV/AIDS Still Without Access To Lifesaving Drugs; Obama Administration Still Refuses To Help
The Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has notified the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) that an application it submitted on behalf of the United States for an emergency grant of $50 million to end the ongoing AIDS drug crisis in the U.S. is being rejected because, as one of the wealthiest nations in the world, “the United States is not eligible for funding from the Global Fund.” The Global Fund is an international organization set up to provide funding to poorer countries that do not have the financial or political ability to combat diseases such as AIDS and malaria. The United States is by far the largest contributor to the Fund.
Despite being one of the wealthiest nations, thousands of Americans with HIV/AIDS are still without access to lifesaving drugs.
AHF submitted the application on behalf of the U.S. in response to a mounting domestic AIDS drug crisis that has resulted in thousands of Americans with HIV/AIDS being placed on waiting lists—or dropped entirely from eligibility—for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). AHF tendered the application only after efforts to persuade the Obama administration to transfer unspent dollars within the current health budget to end the crisis, and to exert pressure to persuade drug companies to make the program more accessible by lowering drug prices were repeatedly rebuffed.
“While we fully support the administration’s efforts to provide access to care to people with HIV/AIDS worldwide, it borders on obscene that the administration will not make the same effort here,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “There is something terribly wrong with this picture: countries that we support via the Global Fund don’t have waiting lists, yet thousands of Americans languish on waiting lists here. Our efforts domestically should match what we do abroad.”
Currently, over 7,000 Americans with HIV/AIDS are on a waiting list or have been made ineligible for ADAP. ADAP is the network of federal and state funded programs that provide life-saving HIV treatments to low income, uninsured, and underinsured individuals living with HIV/AIDS nationwide. With several US cities having rising epidemic rates of HIV, and patients having to apply to rely on drug company charity programs to obtain medicines, an emergency infusion of some source of funding is needed to reinforce the tattered AIDS safety net in the United States.