South Carolina Eliminates Waiting List for AIDS Drug Assistance Program, Health Department Says
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control on Friday announced that it has eliminated the waiting list for the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program, the AP/Myrtle Beach Sun-News reports (Adcox, AP/Myrtle Beach Sun-News, 9/21). ADAPs are federal- and state-funded programs that provide HIV/AIDS-related medications to low-income, uninsured and underinsured HIV-positive individuals. As of July 19, South Carolina had an ADAP waiting list of 303 people, according to the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors' "ADAP Watch" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/17).
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) in June approved a measure that provides $3 million annually and a one-time grant of $1 million to increase access to HIV/AIDS treatment in the state. 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 to remove 93 people from South Carolina's ADAP waiting list (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/2).
With the combined state and federal funds, the state health department has been able to remove about 100 people from the waiting list monthly since April, and the last name was taken off Wednesday, the AP/Sun-News reports (AP/Myrtle Beach Sun-News, 9/21). The agency "had hoped to get everyone into the ADAP program by the first of January 2008," Lynda Kettinger, director of the health department's STD/HIV Division, said, adding, "Thanks to our staff's efforts, we were able to cut out the waiting list even earlier. We are now processing new applications and expect most people will be enrolled quickly" (DHEC release, 9/21).
Removing all the people from the waiting list is "a great start," state Rep. Joe Neal (D), who has led efforts to increase funding for HIV/AIDS services, said. He added, "The question is, will we have money next year, or will this only meet this year's need? Unless we're able to maintain, we'll be right back where we started." Health department spokesperson Thom Berry said the agency plans to ask lawmakers for $2.4 million for ADAP for 2008-2009 (AP/Myrtle Beach Sun-News, 9/21).