It’s hard to believe it will be one year since the National HIV/AIDS Strategy was released on July 13th. In the past twelve months, ADAP waiting lists across the nation have risen above 8,000 and Desert AIDS Project has experienced unprecedented need from our client base. The rough economy has not spared HIV-positive individuals from fully experiencing the effects of a recession.
So what exactly has improved in the past year with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy?
ADAP Funding – a $50 million increase in funding for ADAP was secured in fiscal year 2011, from the previous year. While this is not enough to offset the entire ADAP crisis, it is clear that the Administration has made access to treatment a priority.
Section 1115 Waiver and Guidance – this waiver allows states to expand Medicaid to people living with HIV. Without this waiver, HIV-positive individuals in most states have to wait until they are classified as disabled when the disease progresses to AIDS. The passage of Health Care reform removed this cruel requirement, but unfortunately it does not go into effect until 2014. The Section 115 Waiver therefore allows states to bridge this access to health insurance. What’s even better is that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released an application template to make it easier for interested states to apply for the waiver.
Prevention – the CDC increased HIV prevention funding in 2011 by $31 million, despite budget difficulties at all government levels. Moreso, the CDC has continued to stress the importance of routing HIV testing in clinical settings for all adult Americans in an effort to combat the stigma associated with the disease. By encouraging routine testing in private settings, the CDC can use prevention funding to better target the communities most affected by or at-risk for HIV/AIDS.
These are just a few of several ways in which the Administration is moving forward in the fight against HIV/AIDS on a national level. In the meantime, Desert AIDS Project will continue providing care, prevention, and advocacy services in Riverside County. To find out more about how our mission and agency fits in with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, see the slideshare set here.