State Forced To Put Life-Saving Treatments On Hold

(View the Video from this NEWSCHANNEL 5 story Here)

Tennessee health leaders announced a federally funded program is at capacity and those who need help will go on a waiting list.

The money in the HIV and AIDS prescription drug assistance program isn't gone, but it's low. AIDS treatments cost up to $30,000 a year.

"Doctors told my parents I was not going to make it," said HIV and AIDS patient Tina.

Tina, of Nashville, once received life sustaining, aids treatment money from the Aids Drug Assistance Program, ADAP.

She learned Tennessee's new enrollees in need of assistance from this date forward will be placed on a waiting list.

"Some people can't wait because if they wait, that's taking someone's life and gambling with it," said Tina. "If I didn't have my medication, I would not be here."

The CEO of Nashville Cares, Joseph Interrante, said while the strain on ADAP money is no surprise, the news is unsettling.

He said South Carolina once had a comparable back-log of patients. The state got rid of its ADAP waiting list by bumping-up its state contribution to the fund.

"There were a couple of people who were on the waiting list who died because before they got off the waiting list for meds," said Interrante.

He said the state is offering up caseworkers to help patients apply for meds straight from the pharmaceutical company.

Also, all nine states with backlogged patients can ask for more federal money, but that requires an application.

People can get-off the waiting list, as spots open-up. Interrante said this goes to show the value of the money from the state budget that goes toward AIDS research and education.

Nashville CARES hopes the AIDS fund is not one of those cut when lawmakers are look to trim anywhere they can.

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