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Budget Cuts Could Affect HIV Treatments in Illinois

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 9, 2011 5:40PM

The budget deficits states are facing is leading to some tough decisions as to where to spend funding. Among many programs that could be adversely affected are HIV treatment programs, including here in Illinois.

According to an article in today's Tribune, Illinois has placed a cap on the amount of money that can be spent on anti-HIV drugs through a state assistance program for low-income patients, as well as limited the medication options available to them. They've also added extra steps to enroll and remain qualified for the state-run AIDS Drug Assistance Program. Some HIV treatments can cost up to $2,000 a month or more for newer drugs, while older drugs, less expensive medications can prove to become resistant to the disease.

So far, Illinois has managed to avert putting low-income HIV-positive patients on a waiting list to enroll in the program, a measure that has been implemented in ten states. But with unemployment still high (but slowly decreasing), the fear of some advocates for AIDS and HIV-positive patients is that that may be a next step, which could set back advancements in HIV Treatment the past two decades.