Newly Diagnosed? : Financial Issues

POZ - Health, Life and HIV
Subscribe to:
POZ magazine
Join POZ: Facebook MySpace Twitter Pinterest
Tumblr Google+ Flickr MySpace
POZ Personals
Sign In / Join
POZ Focus

Back to home » HIV 101 » POZ Focus » Newly Diagnosed?

Table of Contents


Dealing with Diagnosis

Finding and Working with a Doctor

To Tell or Not to Tell

Support and Services

Living Well with HIV

Sex and HIV

Big Treatment Questions

Financial Issues

Click here to download a copy of Newly Diagnosed.

What You're Talking About
Losing Hope (blog) (20 comments)

You Can't Hurry Love (14 comments)

I Watched Charlie Sheen on The Dr. Oz Show So You Don't Have To (blog) (14 comments)

Charlie Sheen S&%ts On 30 Years of AIDS Activism (blog) (13 comments)

Remember Their Names: World AIDS Day 2015 (blog) (12 comments)

Prudential to Offer Individual Life Insurance to People With HIV (7 comments)
Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV


Financial Issues

HIV can affect you physically and mentally—and also financially.

Without health insurance, medical care and treatment for HIV are prohibitively expensive. Plus, some HIV-positive people are too sick to work, making it extremely difficult for them to pay rent and utility bills and put food on the table. Fortunately, there are various private and public programs in place to help you secure access to the care, treatment and services you need. Some of these programs are open to undocumented immigrants, without the risk of deportation or jeopardizing a residency or citizenship request already under way.

Many clinics and AIDS service organizations have experts on staff—social workers and case managers—who specialize in getting people living with HIV matched up with benefit programs to help defray, if not cover entirely, the costs of medical care, treatment and supportive services. To cover the cost of your health care, options include private medical insurance, Veterans’ medical insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP)—even pharmaceutical companies themselves. For financial assistance, there are public and private benefits available to those who are disabled, perhaps due to an AIDS diagnosis or a serious treatment side effect. There are also programs to help with rent, food, child care and transportation.

Many of these programs didn’t just appear out of thin air, especially in the early days of the epidemic when there wasn’t a lot of compassion for people living with HIV/AIDS. Since those early years, AIDS activists have advocated loudly and fiercely for access to the best health care and services possible for all HIV-positive people, regardless of their ability to pay. Especially in 2009, when we will have a new administration in the White House, it is important for all of us to continue fighting for our right to care, treatment and services as people living with HIV.

As long as I am alive I will do what I can to educate, advocate and speak out about HIV. I have dedicated my life to this and have become stronger, healthier and happier for it.
—Bernadette Berzoza
Diagnosed 1989

Navigating the murky waters of private health insurance and programs like Medicaid and Medicare requires persistence and patience. And according to Ken Fornataro, executive director of New York City’s AIDS Treatment Data Network, it is a task that should always be undertaken with professional help.

Even if your situation seems simple, Fornataro recommends talking to an experienced case manager—at a local ASO, for example—so that you don’t take actions you’ll later regret or miss out on benefits to which you are entitled. Even people with private health insurance can often  benefit from seeing a case manager.

There are programs in each state that offer health care for people living with HIV who can’t otherwise afford it. State ADAPs cover the cost of ARVs and other medicines for people with no insurance—including undocumented HIV-positive immigrants. However, income requirements and the number of drugs covered vary from state to state. In fact, Fornataro says, “Don’t even think about moving until you’ve talked this out thoroughly with a case manager.”

Another source of coverage for HIV meds are Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs) run by pharmaceutical companies. Some drug companies even offer help with prescription co-payments!

Activism is more than marches and stopping traffic. In fact, some of the best ways to change policies and laws are letter writing, phone calls and lobbying of elected officials. Lobbying by people with HIV often plays a significant role in how much money ADAPs and other AIDS programs receive at budget time. One group to check out is the AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition (ATAC):

Search: money, finance, assistance, ADAP

Scroll down to comment on this story.


(will display; 2-50 characters)


(will NOT display)


(will display; optional)

Comment (500 characters left):

(Note: The POZ team reviews all comments before they are posted. Please do not include either ":" or "@" in your comment. The opinions expressed by people providing comments are theirs alone. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Smart + Strong, which is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by people providing comments.)

Comments require captcha.
Please enter this number for verification:

| Posting Rules

Hide comments

Previous Comments:

  comments 1 - 1 (of 1 total)    

Johnathon, Belleville, 2009-05-25 21:59:20
I left the city to move back home when diagnosed POZ,I could not collect unemployment. I have hypertension, diabeties, along with so I can't work regular 8 I get really fatigued, I need some type of financial assistance to live what do you suggest,this month I did recieve food stamps after being here a year

comments 1 - 1 (of 1 total)    

[ Go to top ]

Facebook Twitter Google+ MySpace YouTube Tumblr Flickr Instagram
Quick Links
Current Issue

HIV Testing
Safer Sex
Find a Date
Newly Diagnosed
HIV 101
Disclosing Your Status
Starting Treatment
Help Paying for Meds
Search for the Cure
POZ Stories
POZ Opinion
POZ Exclusives
Read the Blogs
Visit the Forums
Job Listings
Events Calendar
POZ on Twitter

Ask POZ Pharmacist

Talk to Us
Did you participate in an event for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2016?


more surveys
Contact Us
We welcome your comments!
[ about Smart + Strong | about POZ | POZ advisory board | partner links | advertising policy | advertise/contact us | site map]
© 2016 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved. Terms of use and Your privacy.
Smart + Strong® is a registered trademark of CDM Publishing, LLC.