Monday, December 6, 2010

Victory: Kentucky AIDS Drug Assistance Program Funded!

Today, we celebrate victory as more than 300 people are removed from the Kentucky AIDS Drug Assistance Program (KADAP). Kentucky Equality Federation and 11 other organizations urged lawmakers during the 2010 Kentucky Legislative Session to keep the program alive since this program was a last resort to people who could not afford the life saving medications,” stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer.

The cost for HIV/AIDS medication averages around $1,200/month—more than the entire monthly income of most families enrolled in KADAP.

"Not funding the Kentucky AIDS Drug Assistance Program was inhumane, shortsighted, and threatened individual and public health," stated Palmer, who met with lawmakers six times during the 2010 Legislative Session about KADAP.

Led by Kentucky Equality Federation, the Kentucky HIV/AIDS Advocacy Group, and AVOL (AIDS Volunteers Inc.), organizations across the Commonwealth expressed alarm and dismay that the 2010 budget was passed without funding for the Kentucky AIDS Drug Assistance Program (KADAP).

Courtesy of the Commonwealth News Service:
The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) announced today that improved program efficiencies, pharmaceutical rebates and supplemental funding from the federal government have led to the elimination of the list of individuals who were awaiting assistance from the Kentucky AIDS Drugs Assistance Program (KADAP).

In September, all 306 individuals who were on a waiting list to receive medications for HIV/AIDS were enrolled in the program, giving them consistent access to life-sustaining drugs. KADAP is a payor of last resort for Kentuckians with HIV/AIDS who lack the resources to obtain needed medications. Without prescription medicines, the health of these individuals could deteriorate and drug resistance could develop, making treatment even more costly.

"This is another step forward in our work to assist Kentuckians living with HIV/AIDS," said DPH Commissioner William Hacker, M.D. "Many Kentuckians rely on this program for assistance in obtaining medications that are absolutely vital for their health. Through the work of our staff – along with the advocacy community – individuals in need do not have to wait to access services."

With the addition of those on the waiting list, the program now serves almost 1,500 Kentuckians. KADAP is expected to be able to accommodate the current rate of new enrollees, approximately 20 per month, through June 2012.

"KADAP is a vital link in the triad of care, treatment and prevention. When individuals have access to medication and treatment, it improves their health and quality of life," said Bobby Edelen, president of the Kentucky HIV Advocacy and Action Group and at-large member of the Kentucky HIV/AIDS Planning and Advisory Council. "Moreover, when people realize this service is available – and they will have access to care – they are more likely to get tested."

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