Colorado Democrats are concerned that efforts to eliminate a $700 million budget shortfall in the state will result in decreased funding for the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program, which provides anti-HIV drugs to low-income HIV-positive people in the state, the Denver Rocky Mountain News reports. The ADAP receives most of its funding from the federal government but also receives some state funds, which could be eliminated due to planned cuts in funding to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
"Unless we craft specific priorities and apply them within the departments, we are going to see this over and over again," said Colorado house minority leader Jennifer Veiga. "In lieu of leadership, we have become witness to slash-and-burn tactics that just make matters worse."
Health department officials say they will work to ensure that all Colorado ADAP enrollees continue to receive the anti-HIV medications they need, but they did not comment on whether the program would be able to add new HIV-positive people to its roster in 2003 or be able to cover new medications, like the soon-to-be marketed HIV entry inhibitor Fuzeon, which is expected to be the most expensive anti-HIV medication on the market.