September 17, 2009
Arkansas Cuts Back on State HIV/AIDS Programs Due to Lack of Funding
More than 200 people living with HIV/AIDS in Arkansas have received letters informing them that starting next year their HIV medications will not be paid for through state assistance programs, 4029tv.com reports. Officials say a 54 percent jump in enrollment since last year and insufficient federal funding have forced these programs to scale back coverage.
“I think it’s inhumane. I think it is unfair for people to play Russian roulette with our health,” said one HIV-positive Arkansas resident, who wished to remain anonymous. “To take medication away from someone that is already battling a disease like this—it’s unfair. It’s not right.”
According to the article, the cuts will only affect HIV-positive people living 200 percent above the federal poverty line. Ed Barham, a public information officer for the Arkansas Department of Health, said the state is pursuing other opportunities to help patients pay for their medications, which can cost up to $1,500 per month.
“We’re looking for other ways that we can help individual patients get qualified for those and other programs in every way we can,” Barham said.
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