More than 12,000 HIV patientscould lose access to care next year
By CHRIS JOHNSONcjohnson@washblade.com
Pending across-the-board cuts to federal programs haveadvocates concerned that up to 12,200 people living withHIV/AIDS in the United States could lose access to drugsand programs unless Congress takes action.The anticipated cuts, set to take effect on Jan. 2, are theresult of the Budget Control Act, legislation President Obamasigned last year as part of a compromise to raise the limit onthe nation’s debt ceiling. It would reduce continued fundingfor the U.S. government in 2013 and beyond by cutting anestimated 8.2 percent in the ﬁrst year from discretionaryfederal programs — including HIV/AIDS programs.Carl Schmid, deputy executive director of the AIDSInstitute, said unless Congress acts to institute analternative budget, the level of funding provided wouldbe troublesome because “people wouldn’t be able to gettheir drugs.”“The sequestration wasn’t ever to occur and withinthree months from now, it’s going to take place unlessCongress acts,” Schmid said. “It would be devastating toour programs.”Kimberly Crump, policy ofﬁcer at HIV MedicineAssociation, said problems are already emerging becausecare providers aren’t sure what level of funding willultimately be provided.“It really hinders them in hiring staff and making decisionsaround personnel, around controlling costs of labs andaccepting new patients, the hours that they can be open,”Crump said. “It’s going to really start to impact availabilityof services.”Estimates for what these cuts would mean for peopleliving with HIV/AIDS have varied widely. In a letter datedSept. 19 to Congress, the AIDS Institute says the reductionsto ADAP funding could mean wait lists for drugs wouldonce again be extended and around 9,400 patients wouldlose access to medication.“This would automatically create wait lists again, andextremely long ones,” Schmid told the Blade. “But it couldbe even more than that, we’re doing some further analysis,so some people are saying it’s like 10,000 to 12,000 peopleremoved from the ADAP program if this sequestrationgoes through.”The number is an estimate from the Department of Health & Human Services. In a June 29 letter to Congress,Ellen Murray, HHS assistant secretary for ﬁnancial resources,writes that “approximately 12,150 fewer patients” wouldreceive beneﬁts from the AIDS Drug Assistance Program.A July 25 report from the Senate Health, Education,
OCTOBER 5 2012 VOLUME 43 ISSUE 40 •
OUR COMMUNITY, OUR STORIES SINCE 1969
Marriage opponents to unleashcampaign with one month to go
By MICHAEL K. LAVERSmlavers@washblade.com
One month before the election that will decidewhether Maryland’s marriage equality law will go intoeffect or be overturned, advocates on both sides areturning up the heat and launching expensive TV adcampaigns to woo voters.And both sides are enlisting public ﬁgures in the
ﬁght. Just this week Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malleyand D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray joined forces for a pro-
marriage fundraiser. Meanwhile, Baltimore Ravenscenter Matt Birk released a video denouncing same-sex marriage.
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“Our culture today … attacks marriage and a lot of our Catholicvalues, but marriage is the foundation of our society and isdeﬁnitely something worth ﬁghting for,” said BaltimoreRavens center
Preparing for onslaughtof attack ads in Md.
In sermon, anti-gayRev. Harry Jackson sayshe ‘cursed’ the Blade,triggering ‘09 bankruptcy.
D.C.’s Lambda Squarescelebrating 30 yearson the dance ﬂoor withevent this weekend.
‘Fiscal cliff’ brings fears of devastating AIDS cuts