Action Alert! Sign-On Letter to Save HIV/AIDS Funding
[Editor’s note: Thank you to everyone who signed on to this letter advocating for HIV/AIDS programs and services. The deadline for sign-on has passed. Check back for future opportunities to join our advocacy efforts.]
Huge budget cuts put millions of dollars in emergency funding for life-saving HIV/AIDS programs in jeopardy—but it’s not too late to stop them.
Make your voice heard in Washington by adding your name to a letter urging President Obama to immediately redirect $35 million to the state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) and $10 million to Ryan White Part C programs in Fiscal Year 2013—funding the President earmarked for these programs on World AIDS Day 2011.
Read the letter below and click here to add your name.
Fifteen states and territories depend on these funds to provide life-saving medications and medical care to people living with HIV/AIDS, but they are not included in the continuing resolution to fund the government for the remainder of FY2013. An estimated 7,920 clients could be dropped from ADAP programs if these funds are not restored, and many Ryan White Part C–funded HIV clinics could be forced to cut their services and even close their doors to new patients.
You can help restore these funds. Individuals and organizations can add their names to the letter, drafted by the AIDS Budget and Appropriations Coalition and the ADAP Coalition. “This is the next step for the community this week as we attempt to mitigate the impact of the final continuing resolution on ADAP and Ryan White Part C community clinic funds,” says Ernest Hopkins, San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s director of legislative affairs.
Read the full text of the letter below or download a PDF, then click here to sign on for yourself or your organization. Don’t wait—the deadline to sign on is Monday, April 1, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
March XX, 2013
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
On behalf the undersigned organizations, we urge you to immediately redirect $35 million to the state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) and $10 million to Ryan White Part C programs in FY2013 in order to ensure continuation of care and treatment for thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS. These funds, originally transferred by you in FY2012, are integral to assisting states in providing medications to low-income people through ADAP and increasing access to medical care. Unfortunately, Congress did not include the continuation of all of this funding for these programs in the “Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013.”[Note: We understand that $5 million for Part C Clinics funded through the Bureau of Primary Care is continued.] ADAPs and Ryan White Part C clinics will soon face a 5% funding cut due to sequestration and not continuing the existing emergency funding only will worsen this situation.
ADAPs and Ryan White Part C programs, like many safety-net providers, have been stressed by the recent economic downturn. Individuals who have lost their jobs and insurance are in need of consistent access to HIV-related medications through ADAPs and care and treatment through Part C clinics. Additionally, the emphasis on ensuring people are aware of their HIV status through HIV testing has put additional pressure on ADAPs and Part C clinics to serve newly-identified individuals. ADAP client enrollment has increased by 15% from 2009 to 2012, while Part C Programs have seen an over 60% increase in patients over the past decade. You recognized these factors on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2011, when you announced this additional funding. It is imperative that this funding is continued in FY2013.
The additional ADAP funding currently is being used by 15 states and territories to provide life-saving medications to approximately 8,000 individuals living with HIV/AIDS. The Part C funding is supporting staff at Part C clinics in almost all states and territories to serve more patients. When you announced this funding, there were 4,274 individuals on ADAP waitlists in 12 states. As of March 14, 2013, in part because of this emergency relief funding, there are 65 individuals in three states on waiting lists. If funds aren’t restored, it could lead to nearly 8,000 clients being removed from the ADAP program. Ryan White Part C clinics already have faced funding shortfalls associated with increased patient demands. Fifty four percent of programs already have reduced or cut services. Without this continued funding, clinics would be forced to further reduce services, cut staff, and close to new patients.
If these funds aren’t transferred, there will be serious consequences for individuals currently receiving services through the Ryan White Program. ADAPs will be forced to institute waitlists and other cost containment measures which present barriers to comprehensive medication coverage for people living with HIV/AIDS. Some ADAPs may have to remove clients, who are currently enrolled and receiving services, from the program. Based on a survey of over 100 Ryan White Part C clinics nationwide, in the face of a 10 percent cut—ironically, the same percentage cut these programs now face from the FY2013—66 percent of Part C clinics surveyed responded that they would be forced to reduce services available to current patients; 57 percent would cut staff; and an additional 13 percent would have to close their clinics to new patients.
We greatly appreciate your leadership on the domestic HIV epidemic. Your prioritization of addressing the ADAP crisis by providing $70 million in emergency funding over the course of 2010–2012 and an additional $15 million for Part C programs during FY2012 demonstrates your deep commitment to individuals living with HIV/AIDS. On behalf of these individuals, we hope that you continue your steadfast leadership by authorizing again this transfer of $45 million as soon as possible in FY2013.
CC: Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services
Grant Colfax, Office of National AIDS Policy
Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary of Health, HHS
Dr. Ron Valdiserri, Office of HIV/AIDS Policy, HHS
Mary Wakefield, Administrator, HRSA
Laura Cheever, HAB/HRSA