Original Air Date: Oct. 21, 2004
Why does North Carolina's program to provide lifesaving medications to poor people with HIV have the toughest qualification guideline in the country? Why have bills to change this and allow more people into the program stalled in the legislature?
Medications for people who are HIV-positive can cost $13,000 to $25,000 a year. The AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) provides those medications to people who cannot afford them.
While North Carolina contributes more money to ADAP than most states, its guideline to qualify is the toughest in the country, requiring that a person’s income not exceed 125 percent of the Federal Poverty Guideline, or $11,600. The national average is 300 percent or $28,000. Some people with HIV who work but have no health insurance quit their jobs in order to qualify for ADAP and get the medications they need to survive.
Bills to increase the cap to allow more people into the program have stalled in the legislature. Some say the extra cost is the reason. Others blame discrimination against homosexuals, drug users and even minorities. But is it price or prejudice?
WRAL News Anchor David Crabtree hosts this edition of Focal Point, which examines the controversy from all sides and profiles two people who are HIV-positive, one who is on the ADAP program and one who is fighting to improve it.