April 19, 2010

April 19, 2010
A Letter to President Obama

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Monday and Dab the AIDS Bear is back in Florida for a few days. I hope your week is off to a safe and great start.

Later today, I have a dental surgeon appointment. I am probably going to have another surgery on a problem I have been having which I am not looking forward to doing. But then who actually looks forward to the dentist or surgery? But you do what you have to do to stay healthy.

And that leads me into the topic for today. How can people with HIV and AIDS stay healthy if they are put on waiting lists for life saving anti-HIV medications?

If you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you know how I feel about American men and women being put on ADAP waiting lists. But just in case you are a new reader, ADAP stands for AIDS Drug Assistance Program under Ryan White. ADAP pays for anti-HIV medications for financially challenged Americans. Currently there are over 800 American men and women on the ADAP waiting lists in ten states.

Dab the AIDS Bear and other HIV/AIDS Advocates are working at the state & local levels with state governments, the federal government (Congress & the Administration) and with the pharmaceutical manufacturers of ARVs. All with a view to generate efforts that will stop the current ADAP crisis. The efforts focus on an ADAP Emergency supplemental appropriation for FY 10 of $126 Million, working at the state level to preserve state ADAP contributions, and appealing to the drug industry for additional reloief on costs to ADAPs for ARVs as a bridge to implemented Healt reform.

The following is a letter sent to President Obama about the ADAP waiting lists which was signed on to by many organizations including Dab the AIDS Bear Project.

March 24, 2010

The Honorable Barack Obama The White House Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama:

The undersigned organizations urge you to support an emergency Fiscal Year 2010 supplemental appropriation of $126 million for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). This emergency funding would allow states to provide lifesaving medications to low-income people living with HIV/AIDS for the remainder of the fiscal year.

ADAPs are the safety net under other public programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid. Almost 75% of ADAP clients earn less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level and 65% are people of color. The program is a lifeline for 166,000 people who would otherwise have no other way to access treatment. However, many state ADAPs are on the brink of the worst funding shortfall in many years, and there is a record number of people in need of ADAP services due to the economic downturn. Over 750 people in ten states are on waiting lists for the program, and two states have been forced to remove people from their ADAP after reducing financial eligibility. Other states have been forced to remove vital drugs from their ADAP formulary. Many other states are reporting they will be unable to serve new individuals seeking ADAP services throughout the rest of the fiscal year. HIV clinics also are struggling to meet the demand for HIV care as resource constraints have forced them to operate above their capacity for years

We greatly appreciate the $20 million increase for ADAP in the FY 2010 appropriations bill, and the proposed $20 million increase in your FY 2011 budget. However, these increases fall far short of what is needed to make sure that states can provide access to medications to those in need.

As you continue to demonstrate great leadership in reforming the nationís health care system to expand access to all Americans, it is vital that current safety net programs be protected. People with HIV are depending on you to make sure they have the treatment needed to stay alive, healthy, and productive. Please do everything you can to ensure that ADAP receives emergency fiscal relief.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic. If you have any questions, please contact Ann Lefert at (202) 434-7138


Dab the AIDS Bear Project et al.

If you have not contacted your Senators and/or the President, please do so now. American men and women with HIV and AIDS are counting on you.

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab