Thursday, July 19, 2018

UPDATE: Hey Trump! Hands Off Our Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program!

By: Brandon M. Macsata, CEO, ADAP Advocacy Association

The ADAP Blog last week addressed troubling news that the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services ("HHS") planned to divert funds from existing programs to pay for the rising cost associated with the Trump Administration's controversial "zero-tolerance" immigration policy. This statement was indeed true (as fact checked by Snopes),[1] though fortunately the impact is debatable since none of the diverted funding came from the current year's program. What it did accomplish was to ignite a firestorm among many in the HIV grassroots community.

Snopes: True

The good news, especially for the HIV grassroots community, is none of the transferred funding will impact Ryan White-funded supports or services to people living with HIV/AIDS for the current program year. The transfer included expired Ryan White funds from FY 2016, which hadn't been spent and was due to be returned to the U.S. Treasury. Basically the news is still bad, but not nearly as bad as initially thought.

Though news about HHS transferring funds only broke last week by Slate, it has subsequently been determined that the transfer request was made in January 2017. As reported by POLITICO, nearly $200 million in funds were moved to address the refugee crisis, including "at least $17 million in unspent funds on the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program."[1]

Emily Holubowich, executive director of the Coalition for Health Funding, raised an excellent point in the POLITICO article when she argued, "If there’s leftover money from Ryan White, it should go to support programs for poor people with HIV and AIDS, not this outrageous separation policy."[3]

This point is exactly why the flames are still burning among many grassroots activists at the state and local levels. It begs the question, couldn't those Ryan White dollars have been used to expand drug formularies under the AIDS Drug Assistance Programs ("ADAP") to pay for anti-diarrhea medications, or Hepatitis C ("HCV") therapies for people co-infected with HCV, or lipodystrophy treatments? These concerns were spelled out in a blog earlier this year.

Donald J. Trump
Photo Source: NY Magazine

Furthermore, at what point does the HIV community draw a red line with the Trump Administration and its Family-Research Council ("FRC") cronies known for their anti-immigrant, racist, homophobic, and misogynistic views? This Administration has been attacking people living with HIV/AIDS for the last eighteen months by proposing harsh federal budgetsdemonstrating a flagrant disregard for the public health systemignoring key leadership postssanctioning discrimination by healthcare workersundermining the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and most recently deleting 20 years of critical medical guidelines. Make no mistake...Trump and the FRC have brought the fight to people living with HIV/AIDS.

Overall the Ryan White program, in general, and ADAPs, specifically, are extremely well-run programs. This is a message that the community should embrace, and not run away from out of fear. The best defense is a good offense!

__________

[1] Garcia, Arturo (2018, July 13). Are Federal HIV Treatment Funds Being Used for Immigrant Internment? Snopes. Retrieved from: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/hiv-treatment-funds-immigrants/.

[2] Diamond, Dan (2018, July 18). Trump’s migrant fiasco diverts millions from health programs. POLITICO. Retrieved from: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/18/trump-migrants-health-programs-692955.
[3] Diamond, Dan (2018, July 18). Trump’s migrant fiasco diverts millions from health programs. POLITICO. Retrieved from: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/18/trump-migrants-health-programs-692955.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Hey Trump! Hands Off Our Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program!

By: Brandon M. Macsata, CEO, ADAP Advocacy Association

Earlier this week, Slate reported that the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services ("HHS") planned to divert funds from existing programs to pay for the rising cost associated with the Trump Administration's controversial "zero-tolerance" immigration policy. The policy, which separates children from their families on the southern border, is overseen by the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement, and it is burning through so much cash that it needs more. In the crossfire is millions of dollars in funding designated for HIV/AIDS services under the Ryan White CARE Act.[1]

According to the reporting by Slate, HHS is planning for a surge in immigrant minors over the next three months:[2]
"The internal documents estimate that if 25,400 beds are needed, ORR would face a budget shortfall of $585 million for ORR in fiscal year 2018, which ends on Sept. 30. Under this scenario, that shortfall would increase to $1.3 billion in the first quarter of fiscal year 2019, adding up to a total shortfall of $1.9 billion for the period between Oct. 1, 2017, and Dec. 31, 2018. The documents stress that these budget estimates represent maximum possible expenditures and that actual expenses may be lower. The Department of Health and Human Services did not respond to multiple requests for comment about these figures or anything else relating to the documents."
In order to offset the budgetary shortfall, HHS will seek supplemental appropriations from Congress, as well as reallocate existing funds from within the department  including Ryan White funding. Slate's reporting also indicates the process of transferring those HIV/AIDS funds is underway.

The ADAP Advocacy Association has strongly condemned this decision. In an era when people living with HIV/AIDS are already facing enough uncertainty over the current government's commitment to fighting the epidemic, it was the latest setback to achieving an AIDS-free generation.


The pushback from a leading national patient advocacy group was swift when news broke that the Trump Administration would use Ryan White HIV/AIDS program dollars to fund its widely unpopular family separation policy at the southern border. AIDS United CEO Jesse Milan, Jr. issued a strongly-worded statement on the funding reallocation:[2]
"As a payer of last resort, the Ryan White Program covers services for people that have no other means to pay for them. Any shortages in funding to the program would result in essential services not provided to potentially thousands of Americans. This could mean people not receiving life-saving medications or losing insurance coverage because funding was not available to cover their premiums. For an administration that just recently proclaimed its commitment to ending the HIV epidemic in this country, stripping funding from the largest HIV-specific federal program defies all logic."
The fact that the money being diverted is "unspent" money makes no difference to people living with HIV/AIDS who rely on Ryan White-related supports and services. There are always creative ways to spend or transfer federal money within an agency's budget,[4] because it happens all of the time. And considering there are ongoing challenges facing ADAP consumers limiting their access to care, such as restrictive drug formularies, that money should be spent on people living with HIV/AIDS. (Editor's Note: Read our previous blog on open drug formularies, "ADAP Open Drug Formulary Programs Improve Access to Care & Treatment; So why are there so few?")

Numerous national LGBTQ groups also condemned the news, including Lambda Legal and Human Rights Campaign. It appears that this development is fluid, and we will continue to closely monitor it.

__________

[1] Stern, Mark Joseph. (2018, July 10). Trump’s Office of Refugee Resettlement Is Budgeting for a Surge in Child Separations. Slate. Retrieved from: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/07/trumps-office-of-refugee-resettlement-is-budgeting-for-a-surge-in-child-separations.html
[2] Stern, Mark Joseph. (2018, July 10). Trump’s Office of Refugee Resettlement Is Budgeting for a Surge in Child Separations. Slate. Retrieved from: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/07/trumps-office-of-refugee-resettlement-is-budgeting-for-a-surge-in-child-separations.html
[3] Milan, Jr., Jesse. (2018, July 10). AIDS UNITED STATEMENT ON TRUMP ADMINISTRATION PLANS TO REALLOCATE RYAN WHITE FUNDING FOR CHILD SEPARATION TIED TO ZERO TOLERANCE BORDER POLICY. AIDS United. Retrieved from: https://www.aidsunited.org/News/Default.aspx?id=1197
[4] EveryCRSReport.com (2013, June 6). Transfer and Reprogramming of Appropriations: An Overview of Authorities, Limitations, and Procedures. R43098. Retrieved from https://www.everycrsreport.com/reports/R43098.html.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Linkages to Care During Post-Incarceration

By: Jonathan J. Pena, intern, ADAP Advocacy Association, and rising junior in social work, North Carolina State University

The ADAP Advocacy Association late last year announced its Correctional Health Project, which aims to raise awareness about issues confronting formerly incarcerated populations living with HIV/AIDS (and/or Hepatitis C) who also access care and treatment (or whom could benefit from such care and treatment) under the AIDS Drug Assistance Program ("ADAP"), as well as provide useful resources and tools to the communities serving them. A subsequent blog also focused on the issue. While this approach is an effort to sharpen the scope and need for access to care and treatment for HIV-infection (and/or HCV) among formally incarcerated populations, it is equally important to widen to the lens just for a minute in order to see where we stand globally on the issue of incarceration.

Incarceration rates are highest in the United States out of any country, which translates to 910 per 100,000 adults.[1] When you factor in the 1.2 million people living with HIV in the U.S, a sixth of this population are entering prisons and jails and also transitioning back into their communities.[2] This sets the stage for an enormous request to address the needs of these populations so that the public health system may begin to seal the cracks that they fall through by utilizing accurate assessments and combining it with proactive case management in order to link them to care.

Programs do exist, such as State ADAPs, which are designed to assist these individuals. But the most recent National ADAP Monitoring Project demonstrates that ADAPs are assisting some of these individuals, it is also clear more can be done to assist them. The National AIDS Strategy also provides some guidance to help formerly incarcerated populations achieve viral suppression.

Viral suppression is crucial for HIV-positive ex-offenders during post-incarceration but the challenges that they face can seem monstrous and when faced with so many immediate competing needs like housing, food and transportation, continuity of viral suppression may fall by the waste side. Very often the linkage to care is lost for these populations due to poor discharge planning and thus limited access to quality based community programs. As a result the natural onset of vulnerability that is placed on an HIV-positive ex-offender is amplified when re-entering their communities that the possibility for them to engage in risky behavior like drug use, and transactional unprotect sex to maintain goods increases. These negative affects of poor discharge planning not only hurts the ex-offender but also hurts those within their community with other possible new cases of infection if they are not adherent to their medication.

Staying Strong Inside
Photo Source: SERO

Jails and prison systems are such dynamic institutions that they face additional compounding challenges to providing heath services other than HIV. With such a revolving door, these institutions have to tackle issues like addiction and mental illness. However, what seems to be alarming is the rate of HCV infections. A team of researchers at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of New South Wales in Sydney pooled together a series of data from 196 countries spanning from 2005 through 2015 that aimed at determining the number of inmates with HIV, hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, and TB. This data indicated that out of 10 million inmates, HCV ranked at the top with 15.1% of infections and with HIV estimated at 3.8% of infections.[3]

As the ADAP Advocacy Association's Correctional Health Project continues to take shape, it is important to convey some of the needs driving our interest behind it. Important community resources will be made available in a few months.

__________

[1]  The Lancet HIV. (2017, November 27). Predictors of linkage to HIV care and  suppression after release from jails and prison: a retrospective cohort study. Retrieved from: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanhiv/article/PIIS2352-3018(17)30209-6/fulltext?code=lancet-site
[2] The Lancet HIV. (2017, November 27). Predictors of linkage to HIV care and  suppression after release from jails and prison: a retrospective cohort study. Retrieved from: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanhiv/article/PIIS2352-3018(17)30209-6/fulltext?code=lancet-site
[3] HIVandHepatitis. (2016, September 07). AIDS 2016: Neglect of Infectious Disease in Prisons Highlighted at Conference. Retrieved from: http://www.hivandhepatitis.com/hiv-epidemiology/5845-aids-2016-neglect-of-infectious-disease-in-prisons-highlighted-at-conference




Disclaimer: Guest blogs do not necessarily reflect the views of the ADAP Advocacy Association, but rather they provide a neutral platform whereby the author serves to promote open, honest discussion about public health-related issues and updates.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

2018 National Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Part B & ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report

By: Brandon M. Macsata, CEO, ADAP Advocacy Association

The National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors ("NASTAD") earlier this year released its annual report on the AIDS Drug Assistance Program ("ADAP"), 2018 National Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B and ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report. It includes state-level program-related major findings, tables, with data, and thus it provides the most comprehensive snapshot on all 50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the six U.S. Pacific Territories. It is a must-read for ADAP stakeholders!

2018 National Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B and ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report
Photo Source: NASTAD

Upon releasing the 2018 National Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B and ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report, NASTAD issued the following statement:
"Building on the 22-year history of reporting on the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), the National ADAP Monitoring Project, including the Annual Report, has evolved to include the program under which ADAP falls – the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B program.  The Annual Report has thus been renamed and reimagined.  The 2018 National RWHAP Part B and ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report (The Report) includes narrative and findings that span the totality of the RWHAP Part B program and reflect the reality that the achievements of ADAPs and other elements of the RWHAP Part B programs are inextricably linked."[1]
The report includes relevant information about ADAP's funding and structure, as well as key programmatic details  such as number of clients served, viral load suppression rates, and medical program expenditures. This year's report also includes important sections on structural inequities and the changing health care landscape. Infographics once again accompanied this year's report. In addition, a glossary of key ADAP terms can be found on the NASTAD website.

In FY2017, Congress appropriated $1.4 billion for RWHAP Part B programs, with $898.8 million appropriated to ADAP specifically. Funding was also allocated to 24 Part B Supplemental grants, 9 Part B ADAP Supplemental Treatment grants, and 9 ADAP Emergency Relief grants. Additional funding sources included Part A contribution allocated to Part B (2), State contributions (31), drug rebates (46), and other State/Federal funds (23).[2]

Some key findings include:
  • Fourth open enrollment period via Affordable Care Act insurance marketplace ended on April 30, 2017[3]
  • Part B estimated drug rebates = $193,335,704[4]
  • ADAP estimated drug rebates = $723,825,912[5]
  • $398.2 million in estimated expenditures insurance purchasing/continuation[6]
  • 48% ADAP clients served by full-pay prescription program only[7]
  • 38% ADAP clients served by ADAP-funded insurance program only[8]
  • 14% ADAP clients served by ADAP-funded insurance and full-pay prescription programs[9]
  • 273,680 RWHAP Part B & ADAP clients enrolled[10]
Other key component of the report include valuable information about clients co-infected with HIV and Hepatitis C ("HCV"), incarcerated and formerly incarcerated populations, aging populations (and related morbidity and mortality), and clients impacted by substance use. As is customary, NASTAD should be applauded for their amazing work on pulling together all of this information for ADAP stakeholders.

To download the 2018 National Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B and ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report, go to https://www.nastad.org/PartBADAPreport.

__________

[1] National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (2018, May). 2018 National Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B and ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report. Retrieved from https://www.nastad.org/PartBADAPreport.
[2] National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (2018, May). 2018 National Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B and ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report (p. 9). Retrieved from https://www.nastad.org/PartBADAPreport.
[3] National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (2018, May). 2018 National Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B and ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report (p. 11). Retrieved from https://www.nastad.org/PartBADAPreport.
[4] National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (2018, May). 2018 National Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B and ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report (p. 15). Retrieved from https://www.nastad.org/PartBADAPreport.
[5] National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (2018, May). 2018 National Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B and ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report (p. 15). Retrieved from https://www.nastad.org/PartBADAPreport.
[6] National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (2018, May). 2018 National Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B and ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report (p. 25). Retrieved from https://www.nastad.org/PartBADAPreport.
[7] National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (2018, May). 2018 National Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B and ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report (p. 27). Retrieved from https://www.nastad.org/PartBADAPreport.
[8] National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (2018, May). 2018 National Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B and ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report (p. 27). Retrieved from https://www.nastad.org/PartBADAPreport.
[9] National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (2018, May). 2018 National Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B and ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report (p. 27). Retrieved from https://www.nastad.org/PartBADAPreport.
[10] National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (2018, May). 2018 National Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B and ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report (p. 30). Retrieved from https://www.nastad.org/PartBADAPreport.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Why Our Annual ADAP Leadership Awards Are More Than a Shiny Plaque

By: Brandon M. Macsata, CEO, ADAP Advocacy Association

The ADAP Advocacy Association earlier this week announced the Call for Nominations for its 2018 Annual ADAP Leadership Awards. The awards recognize individual, community, government and corporate leaders who are working to improve access to care and treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS - notably under the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). Whereas the honorees are awarded a shiny plaque, more importantly they receive the acknowledgment and appreciation for their meaningful contributions to ending the epidemic impacting the 1.1 million people in the United States who are living with HIV/AIDS.

Submit a nomination at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/F52YKT3.


Nominations are solicited annually from the community, and honorees are selected by an Awards Committee comprised of our board members, as well as other ADAP stakeholders (including former award honorees). The awards are presented to the honorees during our Annual ADAP Leadership Awards Dinner, which is held at the conclusion of our Annual AIDS Drug Assistance Program Conference in Washington, DC. This year's awards dinner is slated for Friday, September 21st and it will be headlined by the one-and-only Josh Robbins, who is "one of the coolest HIV-positive patient advocates in the history of the world."

The award categories focus on community-based advocacy, social media advocacy, and grassroots advocacy. Additionally, individuals are recognized for their contributions with the "William E. Arnold" ADAP Champion award, Emerging Leader award, and Lawmaker award. Other awards are also part of the annual celebration of the grit, grind, satisfaction, and tribulations associated with fighting the epidemic.

2018 represents the eleventh year that the ADAP Advocacy Association has publicly thanked honorees for their leadership, and since 2010, it has been done at our awards dinner. We invite you to nominate someone today at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/F52YKT3.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

National Survey on State of ASOs/CBOs Identifies Key Trends


By: Brian Hujdich, Executive Director, HealthHIV & Marissa Tonelli, Senior Capacity Building Manager, HealthHIV

AIDS Service Organizations and Community-Based Organizations ("ASOs"/"CBOs") need more financial support to expand services, diversify funding, integrate clinical services, and improve fiscal processes in order to remain relevant in the dynamic healthcare landscape, according to HealthHIV's inaugural State of ASOs/CBOs National Survey.

Key survey findings indicate that:

  • Over 75% of ASOs/CBOs increased service offerings in the past three years in response to client needs.
  • Nearly all ASOs/CBOs offer HIV testing and counseling; however, only 49% offer PrEP services to clients and only 44% offer HIV care and treatment.
  • 33% of ASOs/CBOs report that funding comes from only government sources and 1 in 8 (12%) rely on a single source of funding to maintain HIV programs.
  • Over 33% of ASOs/CBOs have changed or expanded their missions in the past year and 25% developed a shared services partnership with another agency.
  • ASOs/CBOs need training and technical assistance on fiscal sustainability areas such as revenue generation/diversification, unit cost calculation for services, and performance-based payment models.

The most common word that ASOs/CBOs used to describe the state of ASOs/CBOs was 'challenging', which illustrates how organizations are struggling through the uncertain times. ASOs/CBOs must continue to evolve to remain relevant since they play a vital and necessary role in ending the epidemic. We hope the survey data will assist in guiding stronger, resilient organizations.

The report of HealthHIV’s inaugural State of ASOs/CBOs in the US(TM) survey (right) includes data reported from over 500 ASOs/CBOs and provides insights on how ASOs/CBOs are responding to the current HIV and healthcare landscapes, including impacts on workforce development, service coordination, fiscal sustainability, partnership development, and strategic planning. Survey findings emphasize the need for more diverse interdisciplinary training and technical assistance opportunities.

ASOs/CBOs across the country are reaching the most vulnerable populations at highest risk for HIV infection. Survey results indicate that these organizations are largely reliant on government funding for their HIV services; putting them at financial risk in the dynamic healthcare landscape. Now, more than ever, ASOs and CBOs need training and guidance to ensure sustainability of HIV programs by increasing fiscal diversification and demonstrating the impact and value of their HIV programs.

In conjunction with the survey, HealthHIV and the Test Positive Awareness Network (TPAN) launched an online National ASO/CBO Directory 2018 to create a national resource on the availability, breadth and depth of HIV services available to health care consumers. The Directory is searchable by services categories and location, and serves as a repository for organizations to initiate partnerships and streamline service delivery in their jurisdictions.

HealthHIV's State of ASOs/CBOs in the US survey report can be viewed on HealthHIV.org. The National ASO/CBO Directory 2018 is at HealthHIV.org/Directory. The online directory is a searchable repository of HIV prevention, care, and support services provided by ASOs/CBOs in the U.S. To add an ASO or CBO to the National ASO/CBO Directory 2018, complete the online form.




Disclaimer: Guest blogs do not necessarily reflect the views of the ADAP Advocacy Association, but rather they provide a neutral platform whereby the author serves to promote open, honest discussion about public health-related issues and updates.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Mainstream News Media Has a Long History of Failing the HIV Community

By: Brandon M. Macsata, CEO, ADAP Advocacy Association

The New York Times recently issued a meā culpā for its disastrous failure to adequately cover the emergence of the AIDS crisis in the early days of the epidemic. In many ways the newspaper helped to fuel the stigma still lingering today with their coverage that often included incorrect information or unsubstantiated claims about the disease. Its news miscarriages also included not reporting timely on the emerging crisis as it unfolded, or tucking the stories in the back of the newspaper.[1] Unfortunately, aside from the positive (pun intended) emergence of today's HIV-focused news outlets  such as The Body, HIV Plus Magazine, POZ Magazine, to name a few  people living with HIV/AIDS have continually been let down by the mainstream news media.
"The New York Times had a spotty record of covering the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s — and gay culture in general. Times staffers reflect on the paper’s past, and what we can learn from it today."[2]
Larry Kramer, one of the most iconic figures in the fight against HIV/AIDS, described the Times' coverage in the early days as nothing less than homophobic. In fact, Kramer's assessment of the newspaper included a blistering indictment because "many millions are dead from a plague that the Times wouldn’t warn the world about.[3]

Photo New York Post front page coverage on AIDS
Photo Source: NY Magazine

The New York Times wasn't the only culprit fueling HIV-related stigma among the mainstream news media in the 1980s, as was recently documented by HIV Plus Magazine's exposé on the infamous "patient zero" myth. The article, 'Patient Zero': Correcting the Record on a Media-Made Gay AIDS Villain, systematically dissects how Gaëtan Dugas was created into a monster by legacy news outlets, such as Time® Magazine, CBS News' 60 Minutes, and the New York Post.

The 1990s would prove no different. Who could forget the spotty, stigma-fueled news reporting on the HIV diagnosis of the legendary NBA basketball player Earvin “Magic” Johnson in 1991, as well as the death of the Godfather of Gangsta rap, Eric Lynn Wright (better known by his stage name Eazy-E) in 1995.

The long history of checkered reporting by the mainstream news media made it more difficult to dispel the myths surrounding the disease. It fact, systemically poor so-called "reporting" enabled bigots like former U.S. Senator Jesse Helms to demonize people living with HIV/AIDS in the 1980s-1990s, and Vice President Mike Pence to propose morally bankrupt ideas in 2000.

Andrew Kaczynski's Twitter Feed on Vice President Mike Pence's controversial HIV plan
Photo Source: Andrew Kaczynski's Twitter Feed

In 2010, only crickets could be heard when over 10,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in 13 states were placed on waiting lists to access their life saving medications under the AIDS Drug Assistance Program ("ADAP"). Why? Because the mainstream news media barely addressed the public health crisis. At the time, not a single national television broadcast segment by ABC, CBS or NBC covered the ADAP Crisis, as it would be termed. If not for some mainstream news media journalists, such as op-ed columnist Charles M. Blow, then the advocacy to secure the necessary funding would have been even more difficult.

The trend has continued today, with virtually no reporting on the discriminatory design behind HIV treatment in the Affordable Care Act ("ACA") marketplace. Whereas overall people living with HIV/AIDS have been well-served by the ACA, there are still many shortcomings not being covered by the mainstream news media.

It is hard to look back over the years and not come away with the conclusion that the mainstream news media has a long history of failing the HIV community. As a result it has made advocacy even harder!

__________

[1] Soller, Kurt (2018, April 27). Six Times Journalists on the Paper’s History of Covering AIDS and Gay Issues. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/27/t-magazine/times-journalists-aids-gay-history.html.
[2] Soller, Kurt (2018, April 27). Six Times Journalists on the Paper’s History of Covering AIDS and Gay Issues. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/27/t-magazine/times-journalists-aids-gay-history.html.
[3] Artavia, David (2018, May 4). The New York Times Apologizes for Ignoring AIDS. HIV Plus Magazine. Retrieved from https://www.hivplusmag.com/stigma/2018/5/04/new-york-times-apologizes-ignoring-aids.
[4] Broverman, Neal (2018, May 15). 'Patient Zero': Correcting the Record on a Media-Made Gay AIDS Villain. HIV Plus Magazine. Retrieved from https://www.hivplusmag.com/stigma/2018/5/14/patient-zero-correcting-record-media-made-gay-aids-villain.