Today was definitely a Monday and hopefully a better start to the week for you than me. I spent most of the day on the telephone but more on that later.
For those of you that missed my other blog, we once again have American men, women and children on waiting lists for the Ryan White Drug Assistance Program. By the end of July the new ADAP Watch overseen by the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors was released. The report finds that as of July 3, 2008, there were 35 people on waiting lists for AIDS Drug Assistance Programs in two states: Indiana and Montana. As of May 15, ADAPs in two states -- Montana and Utah -- had implemented cost-containment measures since April 1, 2008, when the ADAP fiscal year began. In addition, ADAPs in Arizona and Indiana report anticipating the need to implement additional or new cost-containment measures during this ADAP fiscal year, which ends on March 31, 2009. According to the report, although the trend of relying on cost-containment measures to meet demand for services with available funding has slowed in recent months, the "future remains uncertain" because funding in FY 2009 "remains bleak." The report also examines federal funding for other Ryan White Program initiatives, such as Part B programs, as well as the estimated federal funding needs for ADAPs and Part B programs in FY 2009. So I ask all of you to please contact the governors of Indiana and Montana and demand more funding for their ADAP programs. For more info, see the following link: http://www.kaisernetwork.org/daily_reports/
Now you might ask why that matters? Or you might wonder why Americans on waiting lists for life saving HIV medications pisses me off so bad? Maybe it's because I held over 1000 men, women and children including my partner, godchild and many close friends as they died from complications due to AIDS before truly life saving medications became available in 1996. Maybe it is because we send billions to other countries while not taking care of our own people first. Or maybe it is the people currently working in HIV/AIDS care who don't demand more funding in order to keep people alive. Ultimately the only thing that matters is Americans are allowed to die when there is no need except greed and laziness. So once again I will be hitting the road going across the country raising these questions until no one is on a waiting list in the United States.
What's that? You would like to use your voice and help those on ADAP waiting lists in the United States? You don't think it's right for Americans with HIV to die without access to lifesaving medications? To help those on the death lists, you can contact the governors of Montana and Indiana and voice your opinion. Their contact information is:
Montana - Governor Brian Schweitzer
PO Box 200801, Montana 59620-0801
Telephone: (406) 444-3111 Fax: (406) 444-5529
Indiana - Governor Mitchell Daniels
504 Broadway Suite 423, Gary, Indiana 46402
Telephone: (219) 881-6704 Fax: (219) 881 - 0045
Now for more disturbing news... Parts of the Endangered Species Act may soon be extinct. The Bush administration wants federal agencies to decide for themselves whether highways, dams, mines and other construction projects might harm endangered animals and plants. New regulations, which don't require the approval of Congress, would reduce the mandatory, independent reviews government scientists have been performing for 35 years, according to a draft first obtained by The Associated Press. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said late Monday the changes were needed to ensure that the Endangered Species Act would not be used as a "back door" to regulate the gases blamed for global warming. In May, the polar bear became the first species declared as threatened because of climate change. Warming temperatures are expected to melt the sea ice the bear depends on for survival. If approved, the changes would represent the biggest overhaul of endangered species regulations since 1986. They would accomplish through rules what conservative Republicans have been unable to achieve in Congress: ending some environmental reviews that developers and other federal agencies blame for delays and cost increases on many projects. The chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, which oversees the Interior Department, said he was "deeply troubled" by the changes.
"This proposed rule ... gives federal agencies an unacceptable degree of discretion to decide whether or not to comply with the Endangered Species Act," said Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va. "Eleventh-hour rulemakings rarely if ever lead to good government." The new regulations follow a pattern by the Bush administration not to seek input from its scientists. Now I won't say I am amazed or shocked by this news. I will be shocked if enough Americans do not speak up before it's too late.
Well I am sorry that today's news was mainly negative. I hope your world and life are more positive. Have a great time until you join me again. Wishing you health, hope and happiness.
Big bear hug,