POSITIVELY AWARE NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010
First, Enid Vázquez gave an excellent overview of the International AIDS Conference held in Vienna. Thank you for supplying the links and extra information. I wasn’t able to attend, but have caught up via the World Wide Web.
Second, thank you for referencing Dr. Ho, who is the visionary CEO of Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center (ADARC) where I serve as a clinical research technician. Scientists are stubborn and everyone here is working hard 24/7!
Finally, I wanted to thank Keith Green for his “Lessons from the Book of Real.” We have to stop sugarcoating our commentary and be “real” with everyone when it comes to HIV/AIDS. Until the next issue, thank you!
New York, NY
Two points I’d like to make about Sue Saltmarsh’s article “Republicans to ADAP’s Rescue?” are that 1. Ohio was not listed as a wait list or cost containment state (as of Aug 12) when in fact we’ve instituted both as of July 1; and 2. don’t be so naive to imagine that Big Pharma isn’t factoring significantly in Republican support for an ADAP bailout. Right now, many wait-listed patients get their drugs for free from these companies. While I applaud increased federal funding for ADAP, both as a means of treatment and prevention, it is ultimately a stimulus plan for the pharmaceutical industry.
Via the Internet
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Thanks for pointing out my mistake as far as Ohio is concerned. As of October 4, you do indeed have 244 people on a waiting list, a reduced formulary, and eligibility at 300% of federal poverty level.
Secondly, believe me, no one is naïve about the Big Pharma lobby in Washington. However, most of the companies that produce HIV drugs have negotiated with NASTAD, the Fair Pricing Coalition, and other organizations, as well as state ADAP administrators to lower costs for the states and they offer patient assistance programs that make out-of-pocket costs lower for patients, as well as providing medications free of charge to those who qualify.
I’m sorry you see this potential legislation as an “ADAP bailout.” ADAP did not, as did Wall Street or GM, create its own crisis and the $126 million that Senate bill 3401 seeks is a pittance compared to the billions that have been spent on other bailouts. The fact remains that, as Senator Burr pointed out in our interview, HIV/AIDS funding has traditionally enjoyed strong bipartisan support and the fact that Congress has allowed this crisis to continue unabated is shameful.
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I have to disagree with the characterization of me as the HIV/AIDS Research and Policy Institute’s “founder” in “Lessons from the Frontline,” in the July/August issue. State Representative Constance Howard, her assistants, and AIDS advisors worked successfully to put into Illinois statute a statement that an HIV Institute would be located at Chicago State University. I had nothing to do with the legislation; for that, Representative Howard and her team of writers and advisors deserve all of the credit. To me, they are the founders.
I was given the task of writing a proposal to garner funding so that an AIDS Institute could actually be implemented at Chicago State University. A contract was awarded by the Illinois Department of Public Health and Dr. Joseph A. Balogun, Dean of the College of Health Sciences, agreed to administer the contract and appointed me its first director.
In that capacity, I facilitated the hiring of talented coordinators; got HIV programming into several ongoing annual campus events, including the Gwendolyn Brooks Conference; and participated in other activities.
These distinctions may not seem significant to you. However, if the legislative backdrop had not already been in place and had research germane to the legislative interests of Illinois not been conducted, I do not believe that the current HIV/AIDS Research and Policy Institute at Chicago State University would exist.
That said, thank you for publicizing the horrific statistics that the CDC has documented for blacks in America. A reminder of where we have come from can give us greater hope for the future.