More than 1,300 low-income HIV-positive people are now on waiting lists to access lifesaving HIV antiretroviral medications through state-run AIDS Drug Assistance Programs, according to a report released Friday by the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors. According to the "ADAP Watch" report, 11 states currently have ADAP waiting lists because of budgetary shortfalls in the drug programs: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, and West Virginia. Fifteen states have implemented other cost-cutting measures, including tightening financial eligibility requirements or reducing the number of drugs provided: Alabama, Arkansas, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. New or additional restrictions are expected in Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Wyoming before the end of the 2004 fiscal year.
"We are extremely troubled that there is no apparent plan to continue to provide medications for these people on waiting lists," said NASTAD executive director Julie Scofield. "This is an ongoing, severe crisis in which many states are struggling desperately to provide these lifesaving medications to people in need. Unfortunately, programs will continue to make difficult decisions to keep programs solvent."