You just came across the million dollar question... literally. The average cost of HIV medications per month without insurance can run $1500 - $3000 per month not including doctor visits, lab test, additional medications for mental health or infections... and the list goes on and on.
If you are one of the unfortunate ones without private insurance, you will need to see financial assistance. The U.S. government offers two forms of assistance to the HIV/AIDS community:
Ryan White Funds
ADAP (AIDS Drug Assistance Program)
Due to recent cutbacks in both of these programs, there are now limitations to or restrictions of services.
Some states here in America currently have waiting lists: South Carolina, Montana, Alaska, and Puerto Rico. This means that even though people qualify for government assistance for HIV medications and health that they must wait for an unknown length of time to receive any help. Some Americans have died on these waiting lists.
Many other states in America have started limiting services either by restricting the number of HIV medications and services that they will pay (formulary), charging copays even to financially challenged individuals, and other service cutbacks or restrictions such as HOPWA for housing, food banks, and counseling.
So even though YOUR state may not have a waiting list, it does not mean that you will receive quality health care through government assistance.
Sorry but those are the facts. Nothing is better than having quality private health insurance. Until our government increases funding to cover the amounts of people with HIV/AIDS that truly need financial assistance, quality of care will be in question.
If you qualify for Medicare and/or Medicaid, it is to your benefit to choose both A and B coverages on your Medicare options and/or get Medicaid. These benefits will help pay for tests, hospitalizations, doctor visits and most items except for HIV medications.
Be forewarned that it is very common to be denied the first time you apply for disability through Social Security. From the experiences of many persons that we have known to apply, most end up applying a second or third time. It is also a good idea to consider getting legal representation if you are denied the first time and definitely if you are denied after your second attempt.
Most cities have free Legal AID for persons that financially qualify.