November 3, 2010

November 3, 2010
ADAP Waiting Lists Pass 4,000

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Wednesday and it is also election day here in the United States. We have almost made it to the middle of another work week. Still at home trying to recover from a horrible cold and back problems but did make it out to vote today.

I hope everyone got out and voted. From what the polls are saying it looks like the Democrats are going to possibly lose control of the House of Representatives and maybe even the Senate. So I know most people will be glued to the television watching the results as they come in this evening.

I have some bad news about the ADAP (AIDS Drug Assistance Program) waiting lists in the United States. The lists now have over 4,000 American men and women waiting for government assistance getting their life saving HIV medications.

On Election Day of the 2010 mid-term elections, Congress remains out of session for the conclusion of the campaign season. While the nation heads to the ballot box, the 111th Congress has left town without addressing a growing crisis in the HIV/AIDS community. Over the past year and a half, a waiting list for uninsured and underinsured HIV positive patients who have been enrolled in a government run safety net program, continues to grow unabated.

“For over a year we have been warning Congress and the President that the federal government’s underfunding of the AIDS Drug Assistance Program would lead to dire consequences,” commented William Arnold, Executive Director of the Community Access National Network. “In the past 12 months, the list of patients in need of comprehensive HIV/AIDS medical treatment has grown from 157 to over 4,000 individuals. We have been warning the Congress that if this underfunding continues, more people will be placed on the waiting list and we can expect to see costs increase to maintain these patients’ health. We should also be prepared to see a greater number of fatalities as a result of this neglect.”

Congressman Maurice Hinchey, from New York’s 22nd district, who sits on the House Appropriations Committee, has been a champion for increasing ADAP’s budget. “The New York congressional delegation has requested ADAP Emergency Supplemental Appropriations in the budget process on several occasions in the last few years,” noted Congressman Hinchey. “The federal share’s drop from 70% of total ADAP expenditure to today’s share of less than 50% transfers a fiscal burden back to the state level. Between 2000 and 2008, states increased the amount dedicated to ADAP by 150%, while the federal share has only increased 47% in the same amount of time. This burden on a state like New York - the national epicenter for the AIDS epidemic - is unbearable as it is in many states in the current recession generated State revenue and budget crisis. We saw the ADAP crisis coming years ago, but have been slow to respond. Now the specter of 5,000 – 6,000 HIV+ ADAP Patients is upon us.”

The racial and ethnic minority population has also been hard hit by ADAP’s underfunding. Congresswoman Donna Christensen, from the U.S. Virgin Islands, chairs the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust and has consistently fought for additional funding for ADAP. “Many advocates and members of Congress have been warning of the ADAP crisis for some years,” remarked Congresswoman Christensen. “Eighty House Members wrote and asked President Obama to support $126 Million in emergency supplement funds in April of this year. Unfortunately, we were not successful and, as a result, thousands of innocent Americans a disproportionate number of who are racial and ethnic minorities sit on waiting lists across the country.” Concluded the Congresswoman, “I am very concerned that unless this situation changes, we are likely to celebrate world AIDS Day 2010 with well over 4,500 HIV+ US residents on ADAP waiting lists; a situation that would be wholly unacceptable!”

So it seems to me that it is way pass time for all of us to get involved, call our elected officials and demand emergency funding for ADAP program. With all the money we give to other countries for HIV/AIDS cares, no American should ever have to be on a waiting list.

Those are my thoughts. How 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