Illinois Announces Reduced Access To HIV Medication Assistance

04/19/2011 09:49 am ET | Updated Jun 19, 2011

Story courtesy of the Windy City Times

On April 15, the Illinois Department of Public Health ( IDPH ) announced plans to restrict access to the AIDS Drug Assistance Program ( ADAP ) to new applicants with incomes at or below 300 percent of the federal poverty level ( $32,670 for a single individual ) beginning in July. The current limit to qualify for Illinois ADAP is 500 percent of federal poverty ( $54,450 for a single individual ) .

"This is a sad day for the fight against HIV/AIDS in Illinois," said David Ernesto Munar, President/CEO of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago ( AFC ) . "The new policy will keep ADAP out-of-reach for hundreds of individuals who have nowhere else to turn for help. Many will simply forgo treatment, at great risk to themselves and their partners."

Jointly funded by the federal and state governments, ADAP provides HIV medications each month to more than 4,200 Illinoisans who have no other means to afford their lifesaving medications, which can cost $18,000 or more per year.

All current program recipients, including those with incomes between 300-500 percent of poverty, will continue to receive ADAP services, provided they meet other eligibility criteria and reapply for the program every six months. Stemming spiraling costs that threaten continuity of care for existing program clients motivated the changes, state officials said.

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