In a July 14 meeting, The Arkansas HIV/AIDS Minority Task Force discussed recommending to state lawmakers that insurance companies be required to cover people living with HIV in the state, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports.

Wallace Thomas, MD, associate medical director at Arkansas Blue Cross/Blue Shield, told the newspaper that he was surprised to learn that no law requires coverage of Arkansas' 5,200 positive people. Thomas added that while insurers offer voluntary HIV/AIDS coverage in their policies, it is extremely difficult for uninsured people to receive coverage to help cover their HIV-related medical expenses.

“I won't say it's impossible, but it's remote,” Thomas, part of the 19-member task force created in 2007.