with release of emergency funds
The North Carolina AIDS Drug Assistance Program will extend access to life-sustaining medications to all 278 North Carolinians who were on its waiting list as of the end of July, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
The move comes after the Obama Administration announced last month that it would release new funds to fight the AIDS epidemic in the U.S. North Carolina received $3 million in emergency funding from the federal Health Resources and Service Administration.
“This is great news for families affected by HIV and AIDS throughout the state,” said Lisa Hazirjian, executive director of the N.C. AIDS Action Network.
“Access to care through programs such as the AIDS Drug Assistance Program is critical to saving lives and reducing medical costs.”
More than 6,000 low-income North Carolinians receive access to medications through North Carolina’s HIV and AIDS drug assistance programs. The programs’ waiting list was opened in January 2010, and peaked at 829 people in July 2010.
Since 2010, the list has shortened dramatically, but the release of the funding marks the first time that every individual on the waiting list has been cleared for participation in the program.
The Health Department’s release notes that early treatment of infected individuals can have a major impact on the spread of HIV disease.
According to state officials, new applicants with an income between 126 percent and 300 percent of the federal poverty level will continue to be wait-listed.