December 11, 2010

December 11, 2010
US House of Rep. Increase AIDS Drug Funding $60 Million

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Saturday and I hope your weekend is off to a safe and great start. It is another busy weekend for Dab the AIDS Bear doing more of our Christmas parties for children with HIV and AIDS called Teddy Bear Touchdowns.

But I think we finally have some good news for people with HIV and AIDS in the United States. Dab the AIDS Bear Project calls on US Senate to match House support.

In a significant victory for people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States, the U.S. House of Representatives has approved an additional $60 million for the financially struggling AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) in fiscal year 2011. The increased funding was included in the bill that funds all federal programs for next year basically at existing levels, except in some minor instances. “We are pleased that the House recognized the severe need for additional emergency resources to the ADAP program and choose not to keep ADAP funding level next year, which would have been catastrophic”, commented the CEO of Dab the AIDS Bear Project, Dab Garner.

“Due to the high number of people who have lost their jobs and health insurance during the recent economic downturn, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS who must rely on the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) has skyrocketed. At the same time, federal funding has not kept up with growing demand, and state budget cuts have resulted in funding reductions”, said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida. “Given these constraints, I was pleased to see that the House version of the FY 2011 Continuing Resolution included an influx of $60 million for this critical program. It is my hope that the Senate follows suit, so that Americans living with HIV/AIDS, languishing on waiting lists, can get the treatment they so desperately need as quickly as possible”.

ADAPs provide HIV related medications to under insured and uninsured individuals living with HIV/AIDS in the United States or about one quarter of the people with HIV/AIDS estimated to be receiving care in the United States. ADAP is part of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program.

As of December 2, 2010, there were 4,369 individuals in 9 states on ADAP waiting lists. In Florida alone, there are 2,311 individuals, or over half of all people on waiting lists. Several states are reducing their eligibility for their ADAP and in the process, actually disenrolling people from the program who are currently taking lifesaving medications. Florida has proposed to disenroll over 337 people from its ADAP early next year. As part of treating HIV/AIDS, daily adherence to medications is critical and interruptions can result in severe health outcomes and resistance to medications.

“While this additional money will help states such as Florida with severe ADAP funding problems it is far from enough to keep up with the demand for ADAP medications,” stated Michael Ruppal, Executive Director of The AIDS Institute. “What is worse is that other parts of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, the parts that provide health care and support services to people with HIV/AIDS, will not receive any increases in funding next year.

Dab the AIDS Bear Project now calls on the United States Senate in the remaining days of the lame duck session to increase ADAP funding by at least $60 million in its must pass FY11 spending bill, and forward it to the President for his immediate signature.

So please contact your elected officials in Washington DC and ask them to pass the funding to help our brothers and sisters living with HIV and AIDS.

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

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab