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April 13, 2010

ADAP Cuts Feared in South Carolina Counties

South Carolina’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) faces an estimated $4.1 million shortfall in state funding, which is causing concern among AIDS activists about the availability of medication for low-income HIV-positive people in the state, The Times and Democrat reports.

According to the South Carolina HIV Care Crisis Task Force, annual funding need based on the state’s current patient load is $25.2 million for medications, but the current ADAP budget is only $21.1 million.

There are 1,163 residents living with HIV/AIDS in South Carolina’s Edisto-Savanna Public Health District, which includes Orangeburg, Calhoun, Bamberg, Aiken, Allendale and Barnwell counties. ADAP serves 233 people in that district.

Statewide, more than 700 people are newly diagnosed with HIV each year, and more than 100 new ADAP applications arrive each month.

“When you talk about ADAP, you’re talking about people’s lives,” said Orangeburg resident Pat Kelly, who was diagnosed with HIV in 1985 and founded the U.S. Positive Women’s Network. “When you’re talking about cutting funds, you’re talking about people dying.”

Government and health officials “push for ‘test and treat,’ or testing people so that they can be treated, but here you are cutting funds and having no way to get medicine,” she added. “That’s just not logical.”

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