AIDS Drug Assistance Program Numbers, 11/03/11


From The NAPWA Positive Voice Newsletter:

The waiting lists numbers keep coming down – a little. The federal government released $1.8 billion to support federal-state HIV partnerships, with $813 million earmarked specifically for ADAP programs with waiting lists.

The release of funds is slow, though, and the four states that account for almost the entire waiting list – Florida, Georgia, Virginia, and Louisiana – aren’t stepping up to the plate to match the additional federal money.

The waiting list states say they can’t afford it. We visited Florida’s ADAP debate in the October 24 Positive Voice. Let’s turn in this issue to Georgia.

Georgia Public Broadcasting reports the state’s waiting list numbers have fallen by about 300, from roughly 1,700 to 1,400, with $3 million in new federal funds. Eliminating the waiting list altogether, state officials say, would cost $15 million the state doesn’t have.

Time for a reality check….

Georgia’s proposed 2012 budget is $20 billion. The $15 million that would eliminate the waiting list amounts to 0.075% – less than one-tenth of one percent – of that budget. Even in a period of state financial stress, with an expected five percent deficit, the needed $15 million is so minuscule that spending it or not spending it to end the waiting list has no material impact on the state’s budget crisis. But Georgia’s political conversation continues to be dominated by proposals to lower higher-income and corporate tax rates and “pay” for the cuts by cutting services and shifting tax burdens to middle and lower-income Georgians.

Georgia’s $15 million we can’t is really a $15 million we don’t want to. And the future cost of this year’s $15 million we don’t want to will be a lot more than $15 million.

Here are the latest waiting list numbers from our friends at NASTAD:

Stroke Rate Climbing In HIV+ Persons

The LA Times reports:

While the overall stroke rate in the United States has declined in the last decade, the rate among people infected with the AIDS virus has climbed sharply, researchers reported Wednesday. Although the reason for the increase is not clear, many experts suspect that it is related to the use of protease inhibitors to control replication of the virus. While the drugs, as part of cocktails of antiretroviral medications, have proved remarkably effective in controlling the virus and prolonging patients’ lives, they have also interfered with the patients’ lipid metabolism, increasing the levels of cholesterol and lipids in patients’ blood and altering the distribution of fats in their bodies. Some experts suspect the drugs have also led to an increase in heart attacks among HIV-positive individuals, but that has not been demonstrated.

We’ve known that these drugs are life-saving- but at a price. It’s important to discuss this with your doctor if you have any concerns, and notice this:

The researchers cautioned HIV physicians to be particularly alert to symptoms that might indicate that a patient is at above-normal risk for a stroke. They noted, however, that even with the increased risk, the absolute risk of stroke was still very low, less than 0.2%.

Read the full article here.

And word of a new find in HIV’s behavior in the body is leading to greater understanding of how it works- and therefore closer to stopping it.   Article here.