State eliminates waiting list for low-income AIDS patients
Program helps more Virginia residents obtain needed medications
Low-income Virginia residents suffering from HIV/AIDS no longer have to wait for their medication.
Additional funding from the General Assembly helped the state’s AIDS drug assistance program (ADAP) reduce its waiting list — which peaked at 1,112 people last December — to zero at the end of August. The program helps low-income Virginia residents suffering from AIDS obtain medication.
To eliminate its waiting list the program undertook cost-cutting measures such as Medicare rebates and removing inactive clients.
In November 2010, the state restricted enrollment in its AIDS drug assistance program to children, pregnant women and people receiving treatment for active opportunistic infections. The state also relegated people with CD4 counts of 500 or more cells per microliter of blood — a common measure of T-cells, which help white blood cells fight infection — to the waiting list. That eligibility constraint has since been lifted, Virginia Department of Health spokesperson Steven Bailey said in an email.
To enroll, residents must lack medical coverage and have a family income of less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level. The program currently assists more than 3,100 clients. The average cost per client is $10,320 per year, Bailey said.
Forty-nine percent of the people on the waiting list enrolled in the assistance program between November 2010 and June of this year. Others found private insurance, were ruled no longer eligible or could not be contacted.
But Brandon Macsata, CEO of the Aids Drug Assistance Program Advocacy Association, said he anticipates a future waiting list.
“The dollars aren’t keeping up with demand,” Macsata said.