South Carolina Legislature Approves $2.4M for State ADAP
South Carolina lawmakers have approved $2.4 million for the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program, the Columbia State reports (Reid, Columbia State, 5/8). ADAPs are federal- and state-funded programs that provide HIV/AIDS-related medications to low-income, uninsured and underinsured HIV-positive individuals (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/9).
The Legislature approved $4 million for the state's ADAP last year, according to the State. South Carolina's contribution has increased from 5% of the program's budget in 2007 to 19% this year. South Carolina ADAP Director Sonya Bayone said that about 100 people in the state apply for ADAP monthly.
"We have finally, as a state, come to grips with HIV/AIDS and are willing to put resources to stem the spread of this disease," Rep. Joe Neal (D), who has led efforts in the state House to allocate money for HIV/AIDS services, said.
According to the State, the new money will help prevent waiting lists, such as the one that increased to 567 people after federal funding for the program was reduced last year. However, the program is expected to face federal funding cuts and increased costs again in the future, the State reports. Higher drug prices, new recommendations that HIV-positive people start treatment earlier and concerted efforts to increase HIV testing have contributed to rising ADAP costs, according to the State.
Helmut Albrecht, chief of Infectious Diseases at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, said, "This is just bringing us up to where we should be," adding, "In all honesty, we had a lot of catching up to do." Bambi Gaddist, executive director of the South Carolina HIV/AIDS Council, said, "A health agenda is important for economic stability. In the past, we have left HIV off. It's important that we place HIV on that health agenda." About 800 people in South Carolina are diagnosed with HIV/AIDS annually (Columbia State, 5/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.