AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) are a collaboration between state and federal government to provide a safety net for people with AIDS who have no other means to afford their treatment. Since the ADAP crisis emerged in 2009, that safety net has been falling apart.
ADAPs serve over 150,000 people, accounting for roughly one third of people on AIDS treatment in the U.S. However, due in part to the high cost of AIDS drugs, ADAPs can no longer provide treatment to all of the people who need it.
ADAP wait lists have increased from 99 people in June 2009 to 2,937 in September 2010 to almost 10,000 today. Tragically, there have been deaths due to the lack of access to care. And wait lists are only part of the problem: as states restrict eligibility for their programs, more people will be denied treatment without hope of one day gaining access to the drugs they need to survive.
An ugly truth about ADAP wait lists is that they disproportionately impact the South, communities of color and, in many cases, some of the most impoverished areas in the country. Florida alone has 3,825 people on its wait list. These individuals face a potentially fatal interruption in their treatment. Without treatment, the likelihood of spreading HIV is also dramatically increased.
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