Health officials in North Carolina announced Monday that a waiting list for the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program will continue because of continuing budget shortfalls for the program, The [Raleigh, N.C.] News and Observer reports. ADAPs provide free or low-cost anti-HIV medications to low-income people with HIV who have no health insurance or who do not qualify for other drug-assistance programs. Fifteen states currently have ADAP waiting lists because of funding problems, and health officials in West Virginia announced earlier this month that three HIV-positive people there died of AIDS-related complications while on that state's ADAP waiting list.
North Carolina's ADAP is one of the least accessible in the nation, with financial eligibility requirements that prevent participants from earning more than $12,000 per year. Health advocates in the state expect the ADAP waiting list to continue to grow. That will "make it almost impossible to get new funding," Patrick Lee, a spokesman for the North Carolina Counsel for Positive Living, told The News and Observer. "As the number of people infected continues to grow, the amount of funding we have to ask for will be so ridiculous that it sets us up for complete failure."