The Louisiana AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP) has experienced a shocking trend over the past year: a 15 percent increase in the number of clients served; a 17 percent increase in average antiretroviral medication costs; a 22 percent increase in utilization of services; and a 32 percent increase in overall program expenditures. The increases are attributed to rising unemployment and increased testing, among other factors. (For more information about HIV in New Orleans, see the cover story for May 25).
Sen. Ed Murray, D-New Orleans, says ADAP, much like other programs in the state, is running a significant budget deficit. He is pushing Senate Concurrent Resolution 54 to urge additional emergency funding from the feds. Without the federal bailout, his resolution notes, "Louisiana may be forced to cap new enrollment ... and such a limitation would create barriers to Louisianians accessing life-prolonging medications and will potentially increase HIV-related morbidity and mortality in this state."
According to the Centers for Disease Control, Louisiana ranked fifth among all states in AIDS case rates and 11th in the number of AIDS cases diagnosed in 2007. The same report also ranked New Orleans second-highest in AIDS case rates among the largest U.S. metropolitan areas. Baton Rouge had the third- highest. — Jeremy Alford