Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Finding Solutions to the ADAP Crisis Should Unite Us, Not Divide Us

The ADAP Advocacy Association believes that the ADAP Crisis should be uniting the HIV/AIDS community, and not dividing it. As more and more people linger on ADAP waiting lists, it seems that differences over "tactics" has garnered more attention than what is trying to be achieved...ending the wait and saving lives!

On September 4th, aaa+ took its efforts to promote the AIDS Drug Assistance Program and raise awareness about the vitally important role ADAP plays in the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS to a new level when it filmed the first-ever public service announcement (PSA) about ADAPs. Armed with Emmy-Award winning producer, Neil Romano of The Romano Group (who was involved in the production of the very first HIV/AIDS-related PSA back in the 1980s, as well as the successful 'Just Say No' anti-drug campaign), filming included Bill Arnold of the Community Access National Network, Ann Lefert of the National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors, Christine Campbell of Housing Works, as well as three PLWHAs with personal experience on ADAP - including Michelle Anderson of C2EA Dallas (who is on the Texas ADAP), Robert Breining of (who is on the Pennsylvania ADAP), and Nick Rhoades of the Community HIV/Hepatitis Advocates of Iowa Network (who is on the Iowa ADAP). Romano has agreed to produce two separate videos, with the first being a 5-7 minute video clip designed for the Internet to be spread virally via the World Wide Web, while the second will be a traditional 30-60 second spot for television, in which he has agreed to help us secure earned media for its placement in select markets! This approach to raising awareness about the ADAP crisis is far different than what other national groups are doing here in Washington.

aaa+ is pleased to announce that it is partnering with the Community Access National Network and ADA National Network to host an educational virtual training conference on the Heinz-Welvista Solution to the ongoing ADAP crisis. The online training, which will be held on Monday, December 6th from 2:00 - 3:30 pm (EST) is free to all interested parties who want to gain a fuller perspective from the Heinz Family Philanthropies and Welvista Pharmacy about how their solution can address the many issues confronting people living with HIV disease on wait lists. LEARN MORE...

On December 2nd, aaa+ will team-up with CANN to host yet another Congressional Briefing on the ADAP crisis. The briefing will be held in the Cannon House Office Building, with additional details to follow in the coming weeks. But efforts are underway to strike a bipartisan, bicameral deal to secure the additional $101 million to alleviate the exploding ADAP waiting lists!

While most of the news during this year-long struggle to combat the ADAP crisis hasn't been so great, it is nice from time-to-time to recognize the good news. Today, the Southern AIDS Coalition issued a press release praising the advocacy efforts in Kentucky toward eliminating that state's ADAP waiting list. aaa+ would like to echo SAC?s praise! The press release read, in part: "The targeted plan to eliminate their ADAP waiting list linked a number of components that included leveraging pharmaceutical rebate dollars negotiated by NASTAD's ADAP Crisis Task Force, support of 1.7 million from President Obama's emergency funding, ADAP supplemental funds, redirecting of monies from the Part B Base funds and a variety of innovative cost saving strategies. Officials were also very resourceful in identifying and seeking alternate 'out-of-the-box' payer sources for eligible clients."

Thank you Kentucky for providing an excellent example of effective, nonpartisan, multi-level leadership!

While Ryan White - especially Part B, or formerly Title II - has long enjoyed bipartisan (or as some would argue, nonpartisan) support, somehow that reality has eluded the crisis facing the cash-strapped ADAPs. With the waiting lists exploding to record levels as World AIDS Day draws closer, how embarrassing would it be for the United States to have 5,000 ADAP patients waiting to access the very life-saving medications that we know keep them healthy, productive members of their communities? Both political parties, both the executive and legislative branches of government and both chamber of the U.S. Congress shoulder the blame! HIV/AIDS does NOT question its next possible infected individuals about their party affiliation, so the response to the ADAP crisis - or any HIV/AIDS-related issue for that matter - should not be hampered by partisan bickering, or maneuvering.

If the Democrats prefer using supplemental funding to solve the crisis, then they should be willing to compromise! Likewise, if the GOP wants to tap into unspent stimulus funding dollars to solve the crisis, then they should be willing to strike a deal! What about splitting the difference using $50.5 million in supplemental funding and $50.5 million in stimulus funding, and that way both political parties can claim victory. But since the people living with HIV/AIDS on the ADAP waiting lists care little about who gets the "credit" for solving the problem, they would simply be happy knowing that all of the treatment options are available to them once again! Novel concept?

The ADAP Advocacy Association will continue to monitor the crisis. Thanks for your ongoing interest and support!

1 comment:

Kelly Markell said...

In my reading last week, I noted that $7.4 million federal dollars were being used to establish a study and center at Brown University. What are they studying? The effects of alcohol on HIV positive individuals.

Even the study's researcher admitted we already know substantial facts about alcohol and HIV. But his study would let you know how much you can drink while in treatment.

My point is not to discredit any research that can potentially save lives, but if we can't keep people alive through ADAP what is the point of allocating money to study alcohol use. We need a true national strategy that allocates funds across departmental lines to address high priorties first. Treatment is the highest priority.