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AIDS advocates urge Congress to boost ADAP spending by $303 million

AIDS advocates urge Congress to boost ADAP spending by $303 million

AIDS advocates and HIV-positive people testified before Congress Thursday, calling for lawmakers to boost AIDS Drug Assistance Program spending by $303 million to ensure that all low-income HIV patients in the country have access to anti-HIV medicines, the online newsletter "CQ HealthBeat" reports. Among the speakers at the meeting was Jeanne White-Ginder, the mother of the late Ryan White, an HIV-positive teenager for whom the nation's federal AIDS funding program is named. Activists say a total of 627 HIV-positive people were on waiting lists to access ADAP programs nationwide as of March. According to a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors, 11 states have capped ADAP enrollment and initiated waiting lists because of budget shortfalls. Another 10 state ADAPs had implemented other cost-saving measures, including reducing the number of drugs provided or tightening financial eligibility requirements. The call for increased ADAP spending is supported by U.S. representatives Mary Bono, a California Republican, and Bill Pascrell, a New Jersey Democrat, who have sent a letter calling for increased ADAP allocations for fiscal 2006--signed by 100 other lawmakers--to a key House appropriations subcommittee chairman. The congressional briefing was hosted by a coalition of AIDS organizations and drug companies, which included the gay Republican group Log Cabin Republicans. Other key organizers included the American Academy of HIV Medicine, the National ADAP Working Group, and the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors.

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