Kentucky AIDS Drug Assistance Program Enrollment Growing, Funding Stagnant
The Kentucky AIDS Drug Assistance Program, which provides antiretroviral drugs to low-income, HIV-positive residents, cannot afford to treat the 140 people currently on a waiting list for the program, officials say, the AP/Lexington Herald-Leader reports. The number of HIV-positive people in Kentucky is growing, and the percentage of HIV-positive Kentuckians who have incomes low enough to qualify for assistance is also increasing, according to Michael Logsdon, a member of the state's HIV/AIDS Advisory Council. Residents whose annual incomes at or below 300% of the federal poverty level -- about $27,000 a year for a single person -- and who do not have other health insurance or who do not qualify for Medicaid are eligible to receive drugs through ADAP. However, the state in June 2002 started a waiting list for the program because of funding shortages. Some patients on the list are able to obtain drugs temporarily through a clinic or pharmaceutical company-sponsored programs. The state's 25-member advisory council in September recommended that the state raise its funding levels for the program, which it has not done since 1996. Although the council has not recommended an exact increase, $1.2 million a year would be required to treat everyone on the waiting list, according to the AP/Herald-Leader. However, state lawmakers have said that budget constraints make it unlikely that any more money will be allocated for the program when the legislative session begins in January. The federal government provides 98% of Kentucky's ADAP budget (AP/Lexington Herald-Leader, 11/10). Sixteen states nationwide have waiting lists or access restrictions on their ADAPs, with about 680 people on waiting lists, according to the latest "ADAP Watch List" released earlier this month by the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/4).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.