Federal investment will reduce impact of state budget cuts, continue access to life-saving HIV medications
CHICAGO, IL - The AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) applauds the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for releasing $7.7 million in AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) emergency relief funding for Illinois. The money is part of an $80 million federal package announced in December 2011 that aims to increase access to HIV/AIDS medical care and medications across the nation.
We thank President Obama for prioritizing the fight against HIV with this emergency funding, said David Ernesto Munar, President/CEO of AFC. State budget cuts have stretched Illinois ADAP to the brink. Thanks to this new infusion of federal funding, ADAP will stay strong for everyone who needs it in the state.
Thanks to this new funding, Illinois will receive $6,995,832 in new federal ADAP funding and an additional $722,935 in renewed funding. The total state ADAP budget is nearly $50 million in state and federal funding.
Nearly 4,200 people access their HIV medications through Illinois ADAP each month, and the program has faced significant fiscal pressures from the recently enacted state budget. Effective July 1, 2012 the General Assembly and Governor completely eliminated Illinois Cares Rx, a critical program that helped 160,000 Illinois seniors and people with disabilities afford the prescription drugs they need to stay healthy.
Eliminating Illinois Cares Rx is forcing as many as 1,000 people with HIV to enroll in ADAP, said Ramon Gardenhire, AFCs Director of Government Relations. The new funds will help address the growing need for services, including those from Illinois Cares Rx.
In 2011, inadequate funding forced Illinois to reduce eligibility for new ADAP applicants from about $54,000 a year for a single person to $32,000 a year.
This additional funding comes at a key time for Illinois as it struggles to balance its budget, continued Gardenhire. This year, the state delivered a devastating blow to efforts to curb the AIDS epidemic by enacting a state budget that slashes funding for community-based HIV prevention, care and housing programs by 42%.
Next week, the International AIDS Conference begins in Washington D.C., focusing renewed attention on the domestic HIV epidemic, said Munar. Over and over, we will hear that access to HIV medications improves the individual health of people with HIV and the communities they live in by reducing the likelihood of HIV transmission. President Obama has taken a giant step forward in the fight against HIV with this new funding.