Thursday, May 21, 2009

Gaps in Services

It was a beautiful day today in the Wabash Valley. The skies were clear and sunny. Our high was 83 degrees and I could see for miles and miles.

Not a lot happened today, I participated in a conference call for a needs assessment survey for people living with HIV/AIDS in Indiana. Our state government is trying to determine if there are any gaps in services in Indiana.

The AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) provides HIV/AIDS related prescription drugs to uninsured and underinsured individuals living with HIV/AIDS.

ADAP funds are used to provide medications to treat HIV disease, or to prevent the serious deterioration of health, including measures for the prevention and treatment of opportunistic infections. As a payer of last resort, ADAP only serves individuals who have neither public nor private insurance or cannot get all of their medication needs met through their insurance payer.

In Indiana, ADAP funds are used to both purchase drugs and to purchase cost-effective insurance. The problem is... funds are limited. As of this morning there were 37 people on the ADAP waiting list in Indiana. As of this afternoon there are 36.

'Michael' and I have know each other for about a year. Michael was diagnosed with HIV in 2005 and entered care in 2008 which was when I met him. Michael was 22 when we met. When his parents noticed he had homosexual tendencies they invited their pastor over to discuss the issue with him. Michael disclosed to his minister that he was gay and the following Sunday the minister announce that there was a sinner in the congregation and he publicly announced that Michael was gay and damned to hell. That day, Michael's parents asked him to move out. Shortly after moving out of his parents home Michael began using methamphetamines to help deal with his depression and sadness. At some point thereafter, Michael was exposed to HIV.

In January of this year Michael's doctor recommended that he start Anti-Retroviral Therapy to treat HIV. Michael was uninsurable and his Medicaid co-pay was $952 per month. An amazing amount considering his income was less than $300 per month and he lived in a local shelter.

Due to budget restrictions there wasn't enough money in the Indiana state budget for Michael to have HIV medication and this morning at 9:18 am he passed away.

But, Indiana has a balanced budget... and we have cut services for people living HIV/AIDS in Indiana again this year.

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