Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) today reiterated her call for substantial increases in funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) in light of a new study released by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation revealing limited access to AIDS drugs. "The need for more funding for ADAP was well known before the release of the Kaiser report, but we welcome this documentation of that need," Pelosi said. "The efficacy of new therapies for AIDS has been proven. We have a moral responsibility to make them available to all those with HIV in our country. ADAP funding must be expanded in the current year, beyond the President's budget request, to meet the growing need for powerful AIDS therapies." President Clinton requested a $35 million increase in ADAP, to $496 million. Advocates have determined that a total of
$570 million to $598 million will be needed to meet the need for AIDS drugs.
The Kaiser study reported that at least 2,500 people are on waiting lists for enrollment in the ADAP program, and 14 states are expected to exhaust their ADAP funding before the end of the fiscal year. "Waiting lines for ADAP are only the tip of the iceberg," Pelosi said. "There are tens of thousands of people with HIV/AIDS that are not even in the health care system. We must improve health outreach and access to care to reach those who are not now benefitting from effective therapies for HIV and AIDS."
As a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education, Pelosi has made funding increases for AIDS care, prevention, and research her top priority. Last year, Pelosi fought successfully for substantial increases in ADAP and the entire Ryan White CARE program, and $110 million in new funding for the Congressional Black Caucus AIDS Initiative.
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