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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Activists to Deal: Please fund AIDS treatment program

Since July, more than 750 men and women seeking the state's treatment assistance for HIV/AIDS have watched their names put on a list. Georgia's AIDS Drug Assistance Program, which last year helped provide approximately 5,700 people with life-saving medication, is out of cash thanks to the tough economy and increased awareness about the service.

HIV/AIDS activists say the list — the second largest in the nation — is only expected to grow — at the clip of an estimated 30 names a week — if Gov.-elect Nathan Deal doesn't allocate $5 million for the program when he drafts next year's budget. Georgia Voice covers a rally held yesterday, at the Capitol:

“It is absolutely unforgivable that in this day and age a state like Georgia would have a waiting list for ADAP,” said Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality that has founded the Save Georgia’s Drug Assistance Program group. [...]

“Keep one thing in my mind. It costs $9,000 per year per person on ADAP. If people don’t have access to meds early on they will develop AIDS. The cost of treating someone with AIDS is much more costly and if someone is hospitalized the cost can reach $150,000,” Graham said.

And because it's important to mention: Georgia's rate of people living with AIDS is one of the highest in the nation.

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