The revised California budget proposed by Gov. Gray Davis still underfunds the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program by $12.8 million, threatening the health of thousands of low-income HIV-positive people in the state, say officials with the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. Overall funding for ADAP was increased slightly in the budget over fiscal 2002 levels, and plans to require program participants to pay larger copays for anti-HIV drugs were scrapped, but the funding level is still short the amount ADAP officials say they will need for the coming year.
"Ensuring access to medications that keep people healthy and improve quality of life must be a priority for the state of California," said Dana Van Gorder of SFAF. "Without sufficient funds for ADAP, some people living with HIV/AIDS would be denied access to medications and could experience health deterioration and possibly death as a result. The governor and our lawmakers in Sacramento must not allow this to occur."
California's ADAP provides anti-HIV medications to about 25,000 HIV-positive state residents. The program is estimated to need about $184 million this year, about $160 million of which is funded through federal dollars. The state is planning to contribute an additional $11.2 million for the program, leaving a gap of about $12.8 million. SFAF and other groups are urging the state to help bridge the gap by negotiating for steeper price discounts on anti-HIV medications with the drug manufacturers and by boosting state funding for the program.