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June 15, 2009

Arizona ADAP Faces Budget Cuts

Beginning July 1, Arizona’s Department of Health Services (DHS) will no longer pay for more than 130 medications that help low-income or uninsured HIV-positive residents manage HIV-related complications and drug side effects, The Arizona Republic reports. The coverage plan cutbacks are due to the southwestern state not receiving the total amount of requested federal funding for its AIDS drug assistance program (ADAP).

According to the article, Arizona’s ADAP serves 1,100 people throughout the state and costs about $14 million annually. DHS officials had hoped to receive $13 million but were instead granted $2.3 million less than the amount needed to fully fund the program.  The drugs that have been cut back from the program include antibiotics, pain-relievers, psychotropic drugs for depression and anxiety and medications that control chronic conditions such as diabetes and high cholesterol.

Medical experts and HIV advocates are concerned about the cuts because with 13,000 Arizonians living with the virus and an estimated 4,000 who unknowingly may be positive, Arizona is a “moderate-to-high incidence” state.

“The implications of this are very serious,” said Jennifer Lewis, director of wellness and life management at the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS in Phoenix. “The concern is that more people will become suicidal, harm themselves and harm others because their quality of life has diminished so significantly.”

Search: Arizona, ADAP, budget cuts, antibiotics, pain-relievers, psychotropic, depression, anxiety, diabetes, high cholesterol

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