Montana to Receive $500,000 for HIV Medications
The Montana health department will receive about $500,000 in federal funds to help pay for antiretroviral medications for HIV-positive residents, the Associated Press reports. While officials say about 12 to 15 Montanans contract HIV every year, antiretroviral drugs have kept the number of new AIDS cases from growing. However, state officials say HIV infections may increase because of a "statewide methamphetamine epidemic." Lori Hartford, a nurse with the Yellowstone City-County Health Department, said, "One of the trends over the last year statewide is women who've been exposed, either through their own injecting drug use or by being a partner of an injecting drug user," adding, "With the explosion of methamphetamine use in Montana, there's potential for a very large outbreak of HIV in that population." To determine how the disease is spreading, Montana has been tracking HIV cases since 1985, and recently began requiring physicians treating patients for HIV-related illnesses to file confidential reports. Amy Kelly, AIDS/HIV coordinator with the state Department of Public Health and Human Services, said, "The big reason to do this is to find out how the epidemic is changing." Treatment of HIV costs about $800 to $1,100 per month (Associated Press, 11/24).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.