Forcefully making their voice heard against government cutbacks of lifesaving drugs for HIV patients, the AIDS Health Care Foundation’s Florida offices launched yet another protest at the steps of the Federal Building in Fort Lauderdale last Tuesday, the day before World AIDS Day rallies.
Scores of protestors quietly marched up and down East Broward Boulevard, protesting budget shortfalls speakers termed as “unacceptable” and “unconscionable.” The stunning visual accompanying this story was taken when the crowd gathered to hold all their signs up in unison. Presently there are more than, 4,100 people in nine states on ADAP waiting lists—over half of whom are in Florida.
This month alone, at least 350 more current Florida recipients of ADAP benefits could also be removed from the rolls of Florida’s ADAP. The Florida AIDS Drug Assistance Program, commonly referred to as ADAP, is $16 million short of being able to serve all of its current clients until April 1, 2011, according to the Florida Department of Health.
Nationwide, ADAPs serve over 165,000 people, accounting for one third of people on AIDS treatment in the U.S. Unfortunately, the need for these programs expands every year, as more and more people become infected and diagnosed with HIV/AIDS; each year thousands of newly diagnosed HIV patients turn to ADAPs because they cannot afford their medicines.
“Although some money is being funneled Florida’s way, ADAP will still require millions of dollars more to accommodate its patient load,” said Michael Kahane, Southern Bureau Chief for AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “We urge people in Florida to join us in Ft. Lauderdale at our rally to save ADAP as well as ask them to contact their elected representatives urging them to act now to save ADAP.”