For Immediate Release
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
(LOS ANGELES, CA - May 12, 2012) - AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) today again called on the California legislature to roll back the governor's AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) cost-sharing proposal, which threatens access to life-saving HIV drug therapies for many of the state's poorest living with HIV/AIDS.
Governor Brown's proposal mirrors an earlier plan he put forth in January. Along with additional reductions in the state's contributions from its General Fund to pay for ADAP, the new proposal would mean that ADAP clients, among California's poorest residents, would, for the first time in the program's history, be paying more into ADAP than the state would contribute from its own General Fund coffers.
"The governor is asking people with no other means of survival to bear the brunt of California's fiscal crisis," says APLA Executive Director Craig E. Thompson. "We know what that means: Cost-sharing co-pays drive low-income people out of care, and tragically, that means higher rates of AIDS-related deaths. And those who are HIV-positive would be forced to make unthinkable choices between life-saving medications or other necessities, like food or rent."
The governor is proposing to charge low-income, uninsured Californians who are HIV-positive on average between $813 to over $4,600 annually to continue receiving drug regimens, vital to maintaining their health, through ADAP. The fees would apply to all Californians who are living with HIV/AIDS but whose earnings exceed the federal poverty level - little more than $10,000 per year.
"These fees would place life-saving HIV treatments beyond the reach of the state's most vulnerable," Thompson adds. "If the cost of drugs becomes prohibitive, sadly, larger numbers of Californians will lose their battle with AIDS, and we will see an increase in the number of new HIV infections statewide."
"The California State Senate has already rejected the governor's cost-sharing proposal this year," Thompson explains, "and now it is up to the State Assembly to do the same. We will continue to work with the legislature and the Brown administration to again defeat this senseless proposal.
AIDS Project Los Angeles, one of the largest non-profit AIDS service organizations in the United States, provides bilingual direct care and treatment services to over 7,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Los Angeles annually and leadership on HIV/AIDS-related policy and legislation. In 2013, APLA marked its 30th year of operation, and we are a community-based, volunteer-supported organization with local, national and global reach.
APLA Health & Wellness is a Federally Qualified Health Center providing primary medical care, oral healthcare, mental health services, HIV testing, STD screening/treatment and health education and HIV prevention services focusing on low income gay and bisexual men of color and transgender individuals. APLA Health & Wellness serves over 6,000 individuals across Los Angeles County each year.
For more information, visit apla.org.