Grand Island Independent Examines ADAP Waiting List in Nebraska
The Grand Island Independent on Tuesday examined Nebraska's newly implemented AIDS Drug Assistance Program waiting list, which includes about 12 HIV-positive people in the state. A shortage in Ryan White Program funding and an increase in the number of people living with the virus has left some HIV-positive people on the ADAP waiting list, and it will be "at least a few more months" before the state sees more funding, according to Erin Cantrell, a case manager with the Nebraska AIDS Project. Health workers at HIV clinics in the state have tried to help people find other means of obtaining medicines, but it has been an arduous process, according to Cantrell. A rise in new HIV cases in central Nebraska also has contributed to the situation, the Independent reports.
Susan Swindells, medical director of the University of Nebraska Medical Center HIV Clinic, said, "This federal support is vital because these drugs are expensive, and many of our patients don't have the means of paying for this medicine otherwise." According to Swindells, HIV/AIDS drugs have an average cost of up to $2,400 monthly. Swindells and other HIV advocates have called on Congress to increase funding for the Ryan White Program. Swindells said that the "drugs are a cost-effective investment," adding that they "keep people with HIV/AIDS healthy and productive and this decreases the burden on the health care infrastructure as a whole" (Munger, Grand Island Independent, 1/27).