AHF: Sen. Rubio (R, FL) Offers Obama Administration Proposal to End Growing AIDS Drug Crisis

AHF lauds Senator Rubio for letter to HHS Secretary Sebelius in which he proposes reallocating funds from ‘administrative overhead’ and asks her to, ‘…use your existing authority to transfer sufficient funds to ADAP programs, targeting those states with waiting lists or severe program restrictions.’

Over 9,000 people in 13 states are on AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) waiting lists for access to lifesaving medicines, including more than 3,700 in Florida, with the third highest AIDS rate in the nation

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today commended United States Senator Marco Rubio (R, FL) for urging the Obama administration to swiftly act to address the growing crisis facing the nation’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), the network of federal and state funded programs that provide life-saving HIV treatments to low income, uninsured, and underinsured individuals living with HIV/AIDS nationwide. Currently, over 9,000 people in 13 states are on ADAP waiting lists for access to lifesaving medicines, including more than 3,700 in Rubio’s home state of Florida, which also has the third highest AIDS rate in the nation. In addition, thousands more have been dropped or entirely shut out from the programs as more states permanently restrict eligibility. Senator Rubio sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in which he proposed reallocating funds from ‘administrative overhead’ and asked her to, ‘…use your existing authority to transfer sufficient funds to ADAP programs, targeting those states with waiting lists or severe program restrictions.’

“We applaud Senator Rubio for pressing the Obama administration and Secretary Sebelius to transfer funds from within HHS to address the crisis that is crippling ADAP and threatening the lives of thousands of Americans,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “His action on this issue shows real leadership, and as a result, people with AIDS in Florida and elsewhere across the nation have the potential to get off waiting lists and on to lifesaving antiretroviral treatment. We thank Senator Rubio for vigorously supporting—and seeking to properly fund—ADAP. We now call on the Obama administration to follow though on Senator Rubio’s suggestions and address this crisis.”

In his letter, Senator Rubio also wrote:

“…ADAP waiting lists are the ‘Tip of the Iceberg’ –a larger crisis looms as more states restrict eligibility thus creating invisible waiting lists of thousands of helpless people who are denied treatment. The crisis confronting the nation’s ADAP grows worse by the day, and more people will soon be put in harm’s way without an immediate infusion of federal funds into the program.

An immediate solution does exist. Congress has given HHS authority to transfer up to 1 percent of the HHS budget in any one area to meet urgent needs elsewhere. There are many potential places where the transfer could be taken with minimal impact on vital programs: for example, administrative overhead of various agencies and programs such as any unspent Ryan White or HRSA funds.”

“The Obama administration’s inadequate response to the ADAP crisis has put thousands of lives at risk. Any interruption in AIDS treatment can quickly lead to drug resistance and the onset of deadly co-infections, which may end up costing more money in hospitalizations down the road due to delayed or no treatment,” said Michael Kahane, Southern Bureau Chief for AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “We thank Senator Rubio for seeking a practical solution to this devastating crisis. His work, along with that of Representatives Alcee Hastings, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Ted Deutch give hope to the thousands of people with HIV/AIDS waiting for lifesaving treatment.”

In appreciation of Senator Rubio’s efforts to resolve the issue and to draw further attention to the unresolved—and growing—AIDS drug crisis affecting thousands of vulnerable Americans in Florida and elsewhere, AIDS Healthcare Foundation also published ‘An Open Letter to Senator Rubio’ thank you advertisement in today’s (Ft. Lauderdale) Sun-Sentinel newspaper to thank him for his leadership on HIV/AIDS.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and services to more than 175,000 individuals in 27 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific region and Eastern Europe. www.aidshealth.org

In FLORIDA, AHF serves more than 15,000 Floridians living with HIV/AIDS through a variety of programs, including free HIV testing and prevention programs; HIV/AIDS health care centers located in Ft. Lauderdale, Miami and Jacksonville, eight AHF Pharmacies located throughout the state, a statewide disease management program; and its Positive Healthcare Managed Care program.


AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Ged Kenslea
Communications Director
+1-323-791-5526 [mobile]
+1-323-308-1833 [work]
[email protected]
Lori Yeghiayan
Associate Director of Communications
+1-323-377-4312 [mobile]
+1-323-308-1834 [work]
[email protected]

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