Iowa’s closing enrollment in a program to help Iowans with AIDS afford prescription drugs. State officials say federal funding hasn’t kept up with enrollment. Jim Goodrich, head of Iowa’s public-health disease-prevention bureau, says the program will still serve clients but new applicants will be put on a waiting list.The funding has not kept up with the number of people taking the drugs, he says, and the anti-retro-viral medications are keeping people alive longer with HIV/AIDS so their numbers have steadily increased. The program provides medication to help low-income or uninsured Iowans fend off the H-I-V virus and boost their immune systems…but since 2001 the number of Iowans taking AIDS medication has increased 49-percent, while federal funding has gone up only six-percent. Iowa is one of a few states that don’t contribute state dollars to the program and Good rich says the one-point-3-Million the federal government sends for 2004 will not be enough. AIDS drug assistance program is known as a “payer of last resort,” he explains, and these patients have no other way to get the drugs. Goodrich says the state has tried to postpone this day, limiting the choices of drug available and drawing up stricter income and eligibility guidelines, but will no longer be able to put off establishing a waiting list.
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