HHS Grant Helps To Remove 93 People From South Carolina’s ADAP Waiting List; State’s List Still Largest Nationwide
A recent $26.8 million grant from HHS has helped South Carolina to remove 93 people from the waiting list for its AIDS Drug Assistance Program, but HIV/AIDS officials in the state want to ensure there is enough funding to provide treatment access to everyone on the waiting list, the Columbia State reports. As of May 3, the state's ADAP waiting list stood at 474 people (Reid, Columbia State, 5/10). ADAPs are federal- and state-funded programs that provide HIV/AIDS-related medications to low-income, uninsured and underinsured HIV-positive individuals.
HHS last month awarded a $26.8 million grant to the state to provide HIV-positive people with increased access to treatment and care services. According to Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), $25.6 million will be allocated to provide low-income individuals and families in the state with access to treatment. The remaining $1.2 million will be given to three South Carolina community health centers for a variety of uses -- including risk-reduction counseling and ongoing health services for HIV-positive people (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/27). According to the State, South Carolina has the largest ADAP waiting list nationwide. As of March 1, only three other states had waiting lists of 13, 20 and 75 people.
Additional federal and state funds will help determine how many people on the waiting list will be able to enroll in the state's ADAP, according to Lynda Kettinger, director of STD/HIV Division at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. The South Carolina House has approved a one-time, $3 million grant for the ADAP, and the Senate has approved an additional $3 million annually for the program, as well as a one-time grant of $1 million. State funding for the ADAP will be decided in the coming weeks, the State reports.
State Rep. Joe Neal (D), who has led efforts to increase funding for HIV/AIDS services, said the state previously has relied on federal funding, and "clearly, that has not worked." Neal said the state "need[s] to add dollars, and they must come from the state," adding, "We have no other source." Bambi Gaddist, executive director of the South Carolina HIV/AIDS Council and a member of the South Carolina HIV/AIDS Care Crisis Task Force, said the state needs $8 million. The task force plans to work with hospitals to develop cost estimates incurred by HIV-positive people who are uninsured or who are Medicaid or Medicare beneficiaries, the State reports (Columbia State, 5/10).