For Immediate Release

Media Contacts:
Gary Turner
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AIDS Project Los Angeles Condemns Governor's Latest Proposal to Force State's Poorest to Pay for Life-Saving HIV Treatments

Data show cost-sharing proposal co-payments likely to drive Californians who are HIV-positive out of care, increase rates of AIDS-related casualties

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.

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AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) was founded in 1983 and is one of the largest nonprofit HIV/AIDS service organizations in the United States. APLA provides bilingual support to more than 6,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Los Angeles County annually and leadership on HIV/AIDS-related policy and legislation. Additionally, APLA conducts behavioral research designed to inform the development of evidenced-based interventions and assists health departments in evaluating their HIV/AIDS services to ensure the delivery of effective and quality programs. APLA also provides administrative and fiscal support to the Global Forum on Men Who Have Sex With Men (MSMGF), which promotes and advocated for the health and human rights of MSM internationally. APLA is proud to be a community-based, volunteer-supported organization with local, national, and global reach. For more information, please visit apla.org.

APLA Health & Wellness (APLAHW) provides primary medical and oral health care, behavioral health services, HIV testing, PrEP counseling and management of eligible clients, STD screening/treatment, and health education and HIV-prevention services, with a specific focus on low-income gay and bisexual men of color and transgender individuals living in Los Angeles County. APLAHW is a federally qualified health center that includes: the Gleicher / Chen Health Center in South Los Angeles; the Wilshire Dental Clinic downtown; Behavioral Health Services at the David Geffen Center in Mid-City; as well as a mobile dental facility. The S. Mark Taper Foundation Dental Clinic in South Los Angeles is also part of APLAHW. APLAHW serves more than 8,000 people each year. For more information, please visit aplahw.org.

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