By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com August 30 2003 12:00 AM ET
Three HIV-positive people in West Virginia have died while waiting to receive free anti-HIV medications through the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program. The patients were put on a waiting list for program admission due to closure of the program to new enrollees about seven months ago. West Virginia initiated an ADAP waiting list because of a growing budget deficit in the program. Several other states have also implemented waiting lists, curtailed access to medications, or tightened eligibility requirements due to budget shortfalls caused by high demand for the antiretroviral drugs, rising drug costs, and inadequate state and federal funding increases.
West Virginia's ADAP currently has 340 people enrolled, and enrollment has been increasing over the past two to three years, according to Faisal Khan, director of the state's HIV/AIDS/STD program. However, 14 people remain on a waiting list. "People are now starting to die while they're on the waiting list," Khan said. "It is a crisis that will continue."