May 14 2004
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the nation's largest AIDS organization -- issued the following statement in response to today's news that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's "May Revise" budget includes a 13% increase to the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). According to documents released by the administration today, an additional $27 million will be added to the program next year, and a previous proposal to cap enrollment has been taken off the table:
"Governor Schwarzenegger has taken a big step toward ensuring Californians have access to life-saving HIV medications," said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
"Elsewhere, over 1200 Americans are on state ADAP waiting lists and Californians faced similar threat. With this budget proposal, the governor and the legislature's budget committees agree that despite financial hardship, essential programs like ADAP must be protected."
AIDS Healthcare Foundation operates HIV clinics in the US serving patients who can not afford treatment.
"This year, every city in California receiving federal emergency AIDS dollars has suffered a funding cut," said Jessie Gruttadauria, Associate Director of Government Affairs, California.
"The remaining high priority AIDS treatment item for Sacramento is restoring funding for medical diagnostic tests which the state cut by 90% last year and which the cities can't afford to replace." Such tests help ensure physicians prescribe the most effective combination of medications for each patient.
"The fiscally responsible policy would be to ensure such diagnostic tests are funded to ensure that the drugs ADAP purchases are actually working," said Gruttadauria.