Health officials state this drastic move is to save the entire program from running out of funds prior to the end of the grant year in March. Those being kicked out are patients who joined most recently, those who have not picked up their medications within the last five months, and there is some speculation that those with higher CD4 counts (the cells of our immune system) are being disenrolled as well. All of this was highlighted in a December letter from Dr. Karen Remley, Virginia’s Health Commissioner.
Dr. Maureen Dempsey, Virginia’s Chief Deputy of Public Health stated: “We have experienced a fairly significant increase in enrollment, about a 21 percent increase in enrollment from 2007 to 2009. At the same time, we also saw an increase in medication costs. Folks are living longer with HIV. … As new medications get added to those regimens and as they live longer, the cost of maintaining those regimens increases as well.”
Yes, those living with HIV are living longer, healthier lives. This is an incredible accomplishment. This is what health care workers, advocates and researchers have been working tirelessly for. HIV/AIDS is no longer the “death sentence” it seemingly was at the start of the epidemic. Yet apparently my next statement will be a newsflash to the health officials of Virginia (and in most parts of our nation): it’s because of these life-saving medications that people are living with, and not dying from, HIV, not in spite of them.
Staff Reports WASHINGTON — A Californiacongresswoman on Tuesday reintroduced the REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act in the U.S. House, a bill that would would lead to an eventual repeal of laws that criminalize exposing others to HIV. Currently, 32 states and two U.S. territories that have laws that make “exposure” to or nondisclosure of HIV a crime. U.S. Rep. Barbara [...]