I wrote this article looking at the barriers to accessing treatment for AIDSMeds.com/POZ.com Special Report. The article is called “Treatment Access Isn’t Just a Global Issue”
HIV experts gathering at the International AIDS Society conference in Sydney next week are sure to champion the need for greater treatment access in the developing world—and to point out that in the United States, by contrast, drugs have made HIV a manageable disease. But that is only partly true: Many HIV-positive people in this country confront financial barriers and a labyrinth of rules that keep life-saving medications beyond their reach. For them, HIV is not manageable at all.
In 2006, the U.S. government spent about $12.3 billion on HIV/AIDS treatment and care. But increased pressure on states to test and treat more people has resulted in many HIV-positive patients being turned away from services. “There are a lot of individuals in this country who don’t have access to treatments—just like in other countries,” says Murray Penner, deputy executive director of domestic programs at the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD).
The piece is not to diminish the real challenges to treatment that people in the Third World face, but to simply report on how people here in the US get access to treatment for HIV, and based on my reporting, there are still many people who don’t get treatment at all, and for many reasons.