No Free HIV Medication in Utah For People Without Health Insurance

Anti-retrovirals can slow down the development of AIDS. So, that’s one of the main reasons it’s important people that are HIV positive take HIV meds. Another reaason is HIV-positive men and women who take the drugs while they are still relatively healthy reduced the risk of transmitting it to their partners.

But, when you don’t have the money, you don’t have the money.

That’s why people from Utah that are low income and recently diagnosed with HIV and don’t have health insurance coverage no longer have access to free medications through the state of Utah.

the 475 people currently receiving assistance will remain in the program.

“There’s so many more people that want to access the program,” said the Utah state program administrator. “We receive the same amount of money each year. In the past, we just cut back on services. Now we’re at the point where we can’t really cut back on any more services.”

The health department is creating a waiting list as it seeks an additional $750,000 from the Health Resources and Services Administration to cover the increased demand. In the meantime, it is directing HIV patients who can’t afford the medications — some can cost $1,500 a month — to seek financial assistance from pharmaceutical companies.

An average of four or five people sought assistance each month in the past but the number jumped to 18 this year. The program administrator said it’s most likely due to the high number of people that have lost health insurance due to HIV patients losing their jobs because of the poor economy.

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