This is a very dangerous situation for people who need their medication. There’s not enough funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). People not being able to obtain medication for HIV and AIDS sounds like a story we’d hear from one of the countries in Africa, but it’s not. This is the United States in the year 2010:
The weak economy is crippling the government program that provides life-sustaining antiretroviral drugs to people with H.I.V. or AIDS who cannot afford them. Nearly 1,800 have been relegated to rapidly expanding waiting lists that less than three years ago had dwindled to zero.
As with other safety-net programs, ballooning demand caused by persistent unemployment and loss of health insurance is being met with reductions in government resources. Without reliable access to the medications, which cost patients in the AIDS Drug Assistance Program an average of $12,000 a year, people with H.I.V. are more likely to develop full-blown AIDS, transmit the virus and require expensive hospitalizations.
This is bringing back some very bad memories:
In many states, there is a sense of reverting to the 1980s and early 1990s, before the development of protease inhibitors reversed the rise in AIDS deaths.
“The worry then was that there were no medications for AIDS,” said Dr. Wayne A. Duffus, medical director of the drug assistance program in South Carolina. “The worry now is that there are medicines, but you can’t afford them. A lot of patients are certainly old enough to remember what happens if you don’t get your medicines.”
Yeah, the costs associated with people not having their medication will be a lot higher and a lot worse.