AIDS Assistance Programs May Shut Down Soon

February 13, 2004 - Posted at 7:36 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A state and federally funded program that helps Arkansans with AIDS pay for costly medications may shut down.

The AIDS Drug Assistance Program has lost much of its funding.  The program is run by the state Health Department for AIDS sufferers without insurance.

The state Health Department plans to limit enrollment in the AIDS Drug Assistance Program at 500 because the entire state appropriation of $660,000 was cut last year by the Legislature and federal funding is expected to be about $900,000 short of current needs.

The program currently has almost 450 participants, and more than 300 Arkansans test positive for HIV each year.  Medications can cost from $14,000 to $30,000 per patient a year.

The program reaches HIV positive patients typically in the early stages of the disease to prevent the transmission of AIDS and the increase the person's life expectancy.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)