The Six Petition can be signed here
Last night before I went to bed I was feeling discouraged because I thought there was nothing we could do to alleviate the problems we are facing nationwide regarding the administration of the Ryan White Part B program, which pays for medications people living with HIV need in order to stop the virus from progressing to AIDS and stop transmission.
Then, as I gazed into the screen on my phone in its docking bay I saw an email from change.org appear on its screen. This email was soon followed by another email from the CDC acknowledging the email I sent them regarding the petition. This gave me hope that we can make a difference (again) in the lives of people living with HIV.
Having said that, I want to ask everyone at POZ and bloggers and any and every friend or family member of and person living with HIV to please lend your support and sign this petition. We can do this! Anyone living with HIV deserves a chance at living a full and healthy life. The petition has been updated (Thank you Amanda Kloer at change.org
for your help). The link to the petition is located at the bottom of this post-if you are in a hurry.
Department of Health and Human
Services: Stop disrupting HIV patients' access to medication
I am living with HIV, and because
of a minor clerical error, I almost lost access to my medication, putting me at
risk of getting sick and spreading HIV to others. This happens to thousands of
Americans. We must get the Department of Health and Human Services to act to
correct this bureaucratic nightmare.
My application for the AIDS Drug
Assistance Program (ADAP), the primary drug assistance program for people
living with HIV, was rejected because my employer forgot to date and sign a
letter. Fortunately, with the help of the AIDS Law Project of Philadelphia, I was
able to refill my prescriptions.
But thousands of other people
living with HIV aren't as fortunate -- they are often going 7-10 days without
medication because the application process has become so difficult and time
consuming. That means they're being put at risk of getting sick and spreading
HIV to others.
Here's the problem: People must
re-certify their ADAP benefits every 6 months, including providing their CD4
and Viral Load counts. Some states also add additional restrictions. Many
people, like me, are forced to involve their employers to get re-certified,
putting them at risk for discrimination. The application process is so long and
arduous, thousands run out of medication while waiting for approval.
Continuous HIV medication is
important for both the individual taking the medication and public health.
First, medications used to treat HIV keep patients healthy and prevent HIV from
developing into AIDS. Second, these medications suppress the virus to
undetectable levels that drastically reduce or eliminate the transmission of
the virus. However, even a short break in taking these medications can increase
the viral load rises and the likelihood of transmission. Furthermore, when HIV
medications are taken intermittently the virus can become immune to the effects
of that specific drug "cocktail" rendering it ineffective forcing the patient
to move on to another medication. If this cycle continues, the patient will
eventually run out of options to suppress the virus and remain healthy.
The Department of Health and
Human Services must ensure that patients are able to get continuous HIV
medication, keep their risk of spreading the virus low, and stay healthy. They
can make the process easier -- the ADAP application used to consist of a single
page, and now it consists of 8 pages.
Please join me in asking them to
remove unnecessary hurdles to obtaining access to the ADAP program, including:
1. End the requirement to get
re-certified every six months in order to keep taking medication
2. Make the CD4 and viral load
reporting voluntary, to cut way down on paperwork
3. Create a single page
application for ADAP benefits to simplify the process for patients
4. Stop rejecting applications
due to small clerical errors
Thank you for joining me in
making sure that bureaucracy and clerical errors are never a reason people
can't get the medication they need.
The Six Petition can be signed here