Budget sequestration is scheduled for today. In other words, “a series of automatic, across-the-board cuts to government agencies, totaling $1.2 trillion over 10 years,” and split evenly between defense and domestic discretionary spending, will take effect. (Source)
Overall, budget sequestration will reduce critical funding for HIV/AIDS programs. The dire consequences of sequestration for PLWHA has been articulated by the National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) in The Impact of Budge Sequestration on Federal Funding for State HIV/AIDS and Viral Hepatitis Programs in FY2012, and The Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) and the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) in The Effect of Budget Sequestration on HIV/AIDS in the United States: Protecting the Human Impact in Fiscal Year 2013.
Additionally, NASTAD recently released a one-page fact sheet entitled, The Devastating Impact of Sequestration on ADAP in the South: Sequestration Would Leave Thousands of People without Access to Life-saving Medications. This fact sheet highlights that, of the approximately 15,000 clients losing access to ADAP, “[a]lmost half of the people that will be disenrolled live in the South, which as of 2010 accounted for 45 percent of all new AIDS diagnoses in the U.S.” (Source)
Specifically, in North Carolina, it is anticipated that 301-1,000 clients will be impacted. This is disheartening news, particularly considering that North Carolina recently implemented a formulary increase to 300% of the federal poverty level (Source) and then “re-expand[ed] coverage to include medications for heart disease, Hepatitis C, mental illness, and other conditions that commonly accompany HIV” (Source).
ADAP underfunding will thus have far reaching consequences, including the exacerbation of existing structural barriers to health, as well as an increase in new infections, “particularly in the South and among people of color who are already disproportionately impacted by the HIV epidemic.” (Source)