Citing a lack of federal funds, Utah's health department announced Wednesday it will stop accepting new applications for its Ryan White AIDS Drug Assistance Program. An advisory committee of local health care experts and AIDS advocates recommended the decision. Current program clients will continue to receive services.
"Due to both an increased caseload of those who are eligible for the programs as well as an increase in the costs of medications, insurance premiums, and medical services, the program is unable to accept additional clients and needs as much as $800,000 just to maintain services at the current levels," says department spokeswoman Jana Kettering.
Kettering says additional federal funding would be needed to maintain current service levels for ADAP, the Support Services Program, and the Health Insurance Continuation Program--programs that pay for treatment and care services for HIV-positive people. The services received a $3.2 million federal Health Resources Services Association grant; the funding cycle ends in March 2005.
While Utah's number of new HIV cases is declining, those with the disease are living longer and need medical services, including vision and dental care and social services, including emergency housing and substance abuse counseling. Of the 1,803 state residents the health department says are HIV-positive, about 750 qualify for ADAP. Funding options include reallocating existing funds or altering services, says Kettering.
Fourteen other states, Kettering says, have instituted similar cutbacks; 10 more are expecting further restrictions on their ADAP programs. (AP)