AIDS Groups to Vote “No Confidence!” in Obama, Pelosi & Reid on AIDS & ADAP Funding

AIDS Programs Starved Under Democratic Leadership

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), ADAP Advocacy Association (aaa+), Campaign to End AIDS (C2EA), Housing Works and Community Access National Network (CANN) to Host Press Conference TUESDAY, Sept 28th @ Nat’l Press Club 1:00pm—to Criticize WH Strategy on AIDS and ADAP

Over 3,200 Americans in Nine States Languish on Wait Lists, Denied Lifesaving AIDS Drugs From Hard-Hit AIDS Drug Assistance Programs as Democratic Leaders Offer Little Help to Adequately Solve Crisis

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Several leading AIDS groups including the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), ADAP Advocacy Association (aaa+), Campaign to End AIDS (C2EA), Housing Works and Community Access National Network (CANN), will host a press conference Tuesday, Sept. 28th at 1:00 PM Eastern, to voice a vote of “No Confidence” in the Democratic leadership of President Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid with regard to HIV/AIDS, particularly the crisis facing the nation’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) the federal and state funded, state run network of programs that supply lifesaving AIDS drugs to low-income Americans in need.

WHAT:    

Press Conference

 
WHEN:

Tuesday, Sept 28th

1:00 PM Eastern Time

 
WHERE: National Press Club

Zenger Room

529 14th St. Washington, DC 20045

 
WHO:

patients on ADAP waiting lists, advocates from aaa+, AHF, C2EA, Housing Works & TII CANN

 
CONTACT:

AHF’s Tim Boyd, (202) 709-9084

 

"The failure of the Democratic leadership, which controls the White House and both Houses of Congress, to lead on AIDS issues and provide crucial funding has given us no choice but to cast a vote of ‘no confidence’ in their leadership and commitment to the AIDS epidemic,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “There is no real funding, no real leadership from President Obama, House Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid on this. The administration spends more in two hours on the war in Afghanistan than it spends on the AIDS drug crisis that is killing Americans here at home. It is beyond time for these leaders to really step up and identify funds to send to these lifesaving AIDS programs.”

Summarized Brandon M. Macsata, CEO of the ADAP Advocacy Association: “Here is a simple analogy…The President loves basketball, which involves five players taking to the court to win. In the ADAP crisis, we asked for $126 million but the President only came up with one-fifth of the amount, or $25 million. So basically, in our effort to win the struggle against growing ADAP waiting lists, we’ve only been given one player as the other four are asked to sit on the bench. If we’re going to prevail and eliminate these dreaded waiting lists…we need a FULL team on the court, or an additional $101 million.”

"Georgia has a waiting list of 595 people as of September 23rd. This has got to stop. We need the funding and we need the funding now,” said Larry Cook of the Campaign to End AIDS-Georgia and Vice Chair of the RW Metropolitan Atlanta Planning Council.

“People are withering away on waiting lists and the Obama Administration and Congress are showing no sense of urgency. PLWHAs are getting caught in a political net during an election cycle. We need the political will and backbone to make these tough decisions before it's too late,” said Christine Campbell, Vice President for National Advocacy and Organizing for Housing Works.

“Congress and the White House have been made aware of the current ADAP crisis on a weekly basis since February of this year. They were told that the $25 Million would NOT fix the problem. They have chosen to ignore this emergency in the current political climate. This is unacceptable political leadership in the long advocacy battles against domestic AIDS over the last three decades,” said William E. Arnold, of the Community Access National Network.

As of September 17th, there were 3,214 people on waiting lists in nine states including 1,712 in Florida—which has the third highest incidence of AIDS in the nation—and which only started its wait list June 1st.

"Since the day you are told that you are HIV positive, you are consistently talked to about keeping your stress down and being medication compliant. For four years I have done just that, and it has definitely paid off: my numbers are great and I am in great health,” said Jeffrey Voyles, a Florida AIDS patient who is currently on Florida’s ADAP waiting list. “Now, due to the lack of funding in the ADAP program, I am full of worry and stress about how I will be able to continue being compliant with my medications and have fear over what my numbers will look like in a year for myself and friends."

In addition, Steven Aubrey Dimmick, another patient on Florida’s ADAP waiting list and Ricky Lanza, a patient from Ohio who is on that state’s ADAP waiting list (which currently has 205 people on it) will also attend and speak at the press conference.

Regarding the 3,200 Americans currently on waiting lists to receive lifesaving HIV/AIDS medications through the nation’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP): In an effort to address this crisis earlier this year, Senators Burr, Coburn and Enzi introduced S. 3401, the ACCESS ADAP Act, a bill which would have provided $126 million in unobligated stimulus funds to eliminate waiting lists through Fiscal Year 2010. The bill failed to gain the support of the Administration or Congress. The $126 million was a number provided by state AIDS directors as the amount of additional federal funding required to meet current program needs given the number of people on waiting lists, expected number of new patients and budget cuts per state.

AIDS Advocates Plan Demonstrations Targeting White House, Pelosi September 29th

AIDS advocates are also planning three ADAP demonstrations targeting Speaker Pelosi and the White House on Wednesday September 29th. The first, led by Housing Works, takes place at 12 noon in Lafayette Park directly across from the White House, where scores of demonstrators will gather to urge action by President Obama to end the ADAP crisis. Protesters will wield over 3,200 pill bottles representing the number of AIDS patients waiting for access to lifesaving antiretroviral medications on ADAP waiting lists nationwide. According to Housing Works, “Nine states that have already either implemented a wait list or employed cost containment strategies are now considering additional cost containment measures including disenrolling clients based on medical criteria and requiring clients to enroll in insurance. Nine additional states are considering establishing a wait list and/or instituting new cost containment measures. Approximately 80% of those on ADAP waiting lists reside in the south meaning the crisis disproportionately impacts communities of color.”

Later that evening two AIDS protests targeting Speaker Pelosi will take place: one in Washington, at an awards dinner the Speaker will be attending (6pm Eastern Time, W Hotel, 515 15th St, NW); the other, in the Speaker’s home district of San Francisco, will feature a march and rally to Market and Castro Streets (7pm Pacific Time, protesters gather nearby at 100 Church St, San Francisco).

AHF to Roll Out “ADAP = Life” Ad Campaign in DC

As part of ongoing advocacy efforts to spur President Obama and the Administration to do more on AIDS, AHF is also rolling out an ad headlined “ADAP = Life.” The ad—which will appear as a transit ad at 16 bus shelter advertisements in Washington near the White House—features a poignant photo of an AIDS activist at a protest rally to save one of the hard-hit AIDS Drug Assistance Programs in front of her state’s Capitol dome. To view the ad, visit www.saveadap.org

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and services to more than 137,000 individuals in 23 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific region and Eastern Europe. www.aidshealth.org.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=6443667&lang=en



CONTACT:

AIDS Healthcare Foundation
DC Media Contact:
Tim Boyd, 202-709-9084 (Cell)
AHF Policy Research Coordinator
[email protected]
or
Alt. Media Contact:
Ged Kenslea, 323-308-1833 (Cell)
323-971-5526 (Office)
AHF Communications Director
[email protected]

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  District of Columbia

INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:   Health  AIDS  Public Policy/Government  Healthcare Reform  Congressional News/Views  Public Policy  White House/Federal Government  Philanthropy  Foundation

MEDIA: