South Carolina Gov. Sanford Approves $4M for HIV/AIDS Treatment
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) on Wednesday approved a measure that will provide $3 million annually, as well as a one-time grant of $1 million, to provide increased access to HIV/AIDS treatment in the state, the Columbia State reports. The funds also will be used to reduce the number of people on the waiting list for the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program. As of June 29, the state's ADAP waiting list stood at 362 people (Reid, Columbia State, 6/29). ADAPs are federal- and state-funded programs that provide HIV/AIDS-related medications to low-income, uninsured and underinsured HIV-positive individuals.
South Carolina has the largest ADAP waiting list nationwide. HHS in April awarded a $26.8 million grant to the state to provide HIV-positive people with increased access to treatment and care services and remove 93 people from the ADAP waiting list. 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, 5/10).
According to the State, the measure provides less than the $8 million requested by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and HIV/AIDS advocates. Bambi Gaddist, executive director of the South Carolina HIV/AIDS Council, said that the approved amount is "monumental," even though it is less than the $8 million requested.
By mid-June, 210 people had been removed from the ADAP waiting list with federal funds, but the ADAP receives about 25 new applications weekly. The health department expects to receive additional federal funds in August, the State reports.
The South Carolina HIV/AIDS Care Crisis Task Force will meet in early July to discuss this year's progress in curbing HIV/AIDS in the state and to set goals for next year, the State reports. The task force plans to collect data on the effect HIV/AIDS has on hospital systems in the state, particularly in rural areas, and to help lawmakers understand the virus' impact in the state. The funds are part of the state budget, which became law on Sunday (Columbia State, 6/28).