Virginia is for lovers. That's the motto of this historical, East Coast state. But those living with HIV in Virginia are not feeling the love.
As discussed in a previous post, there is a crisis within AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) throughout the nation. For Virginia, some patients currently on ADAP are seeing their benefits terminated completely. As you read this, there are approximately 760 patients who are being dis-enrolled from this vital and life-saving program.
Health officials state this drastic move is to save the entire program from running out of funds prior to the end of the grant year in March. Those being kicked out are patients who joined most recently, those who have not picked up their medications within the last five months, and there is some speculation that those with higher CD4 counts (the cells of our immune system) are being disenrolled as well. All of this was highlighted in a December letter from Dr. Karen Remley, Virginia's Health Commissioner.
Dr. Maureen Dempsey, Virginia's Chief Deputy of Public Health stated: "We have experienced a fairly significant increase in enrollment, about a 21 percent increase in enrollment from 2007 to 2009. At the same time, we also saw an increase in medication costs. Folks are living longer with HIV. ... As new medications get added to those regimens and as they live longer, the cost of maintaining those regimens increases as well."