January 11, 2011

January 11, 2011
California ADAP Budget is Death Warrant for PWAs

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Tuesday and I hope you are having a safe and great week so far. Dab the AIDS Bear and I are on the run again this week.

I read some very disturbing news about HIV and AIDS care in California where I used to live for many years.

State to require steep share of costs from most low income HIV/AIDS patients who use California’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). Under Brown’s plan, patients with after tax incomes of $21,000 would have $1,300 in copayments for lifesaving HIV medications.

Move will push many poor Californians off lifesaving treatment while also jeopardizing the greater public health; AHF vows to mobilize opposition at grassroots and legislative levels.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, sharply denounced Governor Jerry Brown’s Fiscal Year 2011 - 12 budget, which proposes to drastically alter funding of AIDS care throughout California in a way that AHF officials say would be a death warrant for many AIDS patients and a move that will force many vulnerable Californians off the rolls of lifesaving treatment.

Under Brown’s proposed budget, released earlier today in Sacramento, California would now require a steep share of costs from almost all low income HIV/AIDS patients served by and utilizing California’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), a federal/state program that pays for life saving AIDS drugs for low income Americans. For example, under Brown’s proposed budget, patients with incomes of up to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (approximately $26,000 annually, yielding after tax income of $21,000) would now face $1,300 in annual drug copayments or share of costs for their lifesaving HIV medications.

“This budget is a death warrant for California AIDS patients,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “Governor Brown’s overhaul of AIDS funding seems like it is intended to push vulnerable Californians with very little income off of life saving treatment and will undoubtedly contribute to many being removed from the rolls of ADAP, which is the only thing keeping many HIV/AID patients from having their disease progress. This move could also jeopardize the greater public health in California, as AIDS patients who are successfully on treatment such as most of those on ADAP are rendered far less infectious and are far less likely to pass their infection on to others. In the end, the state will still be responsible for caring for many of these patients who will end up seek far more costly care in overloaded emergency units throughout the state. The steep share of costs for the poor would be catastrophic if they are implemented. We denounce this ADAP budget in the strongest possible terms and vow that AHF will mobilize opposition to these AIDS funding changes at the grassroots and legislative levels.”

Nationwide, ADAPs serve over 165,000 people, accounting for one third of people on AIDS treatment in the U.S.

So yet this is another case of people with HIV and AIDS being put in harm way as a scape goat of budget crisis in our country. It is time we stand up and demand treatment dollars for Americans with HIV and AIDS. But those are my thoughts. What about yours? Drop me a line and let me know.

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

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab