HIV “CURE” RESEARCH
Scientists are actually working on HIV related “Cure” Research. While a cure for HIV is many years away, we thought you might be interested in reviewing some of the science that was presented at the International AIDS Society’s Cure Workshop which occurred immediately before the International AIDS Conference in DC in July of 2012. The excellent report was compiled by the Treatment Action Group’s brilliant Richard Jefferys.
We are also providing a link to information on available HIV Cure related studies.
AIDS Action Baltimore (AAB) has been providing essential services to people with HIV/AIDS since 1987. Thanks to your generosity, we’re still standing after a long hard financial battle. We know only too well that times are still tough, but as we commemorate our 25th year of service, we hope we can count on your continued support which will help us maintain our many HIV/AIDS programs. We still
desperately need your help to keep our doors open and continue to provide our many essential services to the Baltimore HIV/AIDS community. We hope you will remember us and continue your loyal support. Please help us in any way you can. Your donations will enable us to continue our marvelous record of benevolence and compassion with only a rate of 5.5% overhead in 2012. The amount of work we
accomplish and the effect we have had on the war against HIV and HCV with only two full-time employees is truly amazing!
Although HIV disease is becoming a manageable disease, here is why we still need your help now more than ever:
The latest DHMH statistics show that, Maryland had a total of 29,080 reported cases of people living with AIDS as of December 31, 2010. While Maryland ranks 19 in population among the 50 th states, Maryland ranked ninth in the number of AIDS cases and fourth in the AIDS diagnosis rate. In 2009, Baltimore-Towson ranked tenth among metropolitan areas for new reports of AIDS cases. Moreover, national estimates suggest that there are 6,000 to 9,000 Marylanders who are unaware that they are HIV positive.
AAB has been instrumental in organizing the community in the effort to streamline HIV testing laws and regulations so that more people can be tested for HIV. Because of AAB’s leadership in this arena, it is now much easier for people who want to be tested to do so without a lot of red tape. This will help thwart the needless spreading of HIV. Once people know they are HIV positive, they are much less likely to practice risky behavior. People also need to know they are HIV positive so that they can take advantage of all the new treatments
we are helping to make available. Like all diseases, the sooner you treat HIV, the better your chances of survival. AAB continues to work with the state to ensure that the HIV testing regulations are practical and to ensure that HIV testing is routinely offered to people in our metropolitan area.
AAB continues to provide financial assistance to many needy people with HIV/AIDS. AAB has provided this support to over 200 people over the past year alone. Since 1987, AAB has provided over $2,668,000 in assistance to needy people with HIV/AIDS and their families in our community for items such as rent and utilities. We firmly believe we must continue our invaluable financial assistance programs.
Our programs provide a safety net to people with HIV/AIDS experiencing an emergency financial crisis.
Federal money is steadily decreasing while the rate of HIV cases in Baltimore is still raging. Because federal dollars are shrinking, we need your help more than ever so that we can continue the fight to save our community from the devastation of HIV disease. AAB is also working with other national advocates to ensure that the new healthcare legislation regulations will not interfere with the care and support for people with HIV provided by the Ryan White Care Act and to ensure that all classes of antiviral HIV drugs are included on new Obama Care Act drug formularies. HIV policy gets more complicated every year, but it is much harder for us to obtain the resource appropriations we need to fight the epidemic.
Our work affects all who are touched by HIV/AIDS. Eventually all people with HIV/AIDS will need new drugs for their drug cocktails when their old drugs are no longer working or because they are causing life-threatening side effects. AAB continues to work on government and industry Community Advisory Boards. We are working with the government and industry to continually change the
standard of care by ensuring that their new drug pipelines remain robust, and by replacing more old toxic drugs with more effective and better tolerated drugs. We are very excited that scientists are even beginning to work on HIV “CURE”research. AAB is working with government and industry and the national HIV community to make a “CURE” for HIV a reality as soon as possible. AAB is committed to continuing our commitment to national research advocacy for better, safer new dugs and even a “CURE” for HIV.
AAB has been instrumental in the formation of the Drug Development Committee of the AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition, a national organization that interacts with the pharmaceutical industry, pressuring companies to study drugs expeditiously and ethically and to include the HIV affected community in all aspects of research and development. AAB is also working with national coalitions like the Federal AIDS Policy Partnership and National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable, as well as the Maryland Hepatitis Coalition to obtain new money and services for people with HIV and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) and people coinfected with HIV and HCV. HCV is a huge problem in the Baltimore metropolitan area. For example, as many as 75% of people treated for HIV at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and the University of Maryland at any given time may also be coinfected with HCV as well as HIV.
AAB is a leading member of the national Fair Pricing Coalition, working to pressure “big pharma”into pricing HIV and HCV drugs reasonably, limit price increases, cap ongoing drug prices for government AIDS Drug Assistance Programs and initiate co-pay programs for patients with private insurance. At this juncture, every major HIV and HCV drug company has agreed to a co-pay program that will reimburse people with private insurance for their co-pay costs. Our work directly affects Marylanders with ever increasing co-pays. We are also working very hard to ensure the people across the country who cannot afford their medications get their drugs free from “big pharma” through a streamlined national Patient Assistance Program (PAP). We were very successful this year in working in conjunction with the federal government and NASTAD to develop one uniform application for the various drug companies so that people need only complete one form instead of 4 or 5 different PAP applications. We are now working on a one stop shopping location so that patients can apply once for all their different HIV drugs instead of having to apply to each drug company. Our work is way ahead of the curve. This type of advocacy does not happen in any other disease community.
AAB continues to host RISE, our quarterly retreat for men who love men that promotes self-learning in a positive, affirming peer group environment. RISE creates a safe space for men who love men to explore and to overcome the effects of sexism, homophobia and past negative messaging in their lives in order to prevent HIV transmission. We also maintain Project TEA Time, a new HIV prevention
program for transgender people that promotes HIV testing, helps people get linked to care and treatment and remain in treatment.
We are also trying to help ourselves. Thanks to the many of you who attended our recent Tea at Tryconnell which raised over $50,000. We’re looking forward to some great new events next year too, including a World AIDS Day commemoration at the Creative Alliance on November 30, 2012. For more information on our events and the latest in HIV and HCV treatment and research information, check out our web site at www.aidsactionbaltimore.org.
Please help us to continue our emergency financial assistance programs and our vital local and national advocacy. We greatly appreciate your continued support in these tough economic times. Thank you in advance for your contribution and for your past generosity. We know you are called on to make many charitable donations. We very much appreciate your continued confidence in our work. Your donation will help us to save lives. We are forever grateful for your trust and loyal support. Remember, now more than ever, without people like you, there would be no AIDS Action Baltimore!
Lynda Dee & the AAB Board
Merle McCann, M.D., Chair
Jake Boone, III
Cameron Wolf, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Our current financial statement is available upon request by contacting AIDS Action Baltimore at 10 East Eager Street, Baltimore, MD 21202 or (410)837-2437. Documents and information submitted to the State of Maryland under the Maryland Charitable Solicitations Act are available from the Office of the Secretary of State, State House, Annapolis, MD 21401 for the cost of copying and postage.
Patient assistance and drug co-pay programs
AIDS Action Baltimore is a prominent member of the Fair Pricing Coalition (FPC). The FPC, which was founded by the late Martin Delaney, is a national coalition of activists who work on HIV drug pricing issues and who help control drug costs, thereby insuring access for recipients of state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs), Medicare, and Medicaid, as well as those who are privately insured, underinsured and uninsured.
The FPC has been negotiating with all major HIV drug manufacturers to require them to institute patient co-pay programs. These new co-pay programs are a direct result of several years of intense work and negotiations between the FPC and representatives of the pharmaceutical industry.
Most, if not all, HIV pharmaceutical companies already provide some level of patient assistance to individuals who are unable to afford their HIV medications. Be sure to ask your health care provider or pharmacy to contact the manufacturer directly for updated details on a specific drug.
Most HIV drug companies have also recently instituted co-pay assistance programs, which may cover all or part of the drug co-pay for many privately-insured patients, up to a specified amount, and for a pre-determined period of time, for example, up to one year. Certain restrictions and eligibility requirements apply. For example Medicare and Medicaid patients are not eligible. Eligibility requirements may vary from program to program. Once eligibility is established, most companies will provide patients with a co-pay card which they can bring to your pharmacist or provide to your mail-order pharmacy when filling your prescription.
Jeff Berry, Editor of Positively Aware and member of the FPC states “In our current economic crisis and with the continued rising costs associated with health care, these new programs offer much-needed assistance to people who may have insurance but are being adversely affected by rising co-pays and premiums.”
There are also many other medications in addition to HIV antiviral drugs needed by people with HIV, such as prescriptions for high cholesterol or diabetes. To find patient assistance or drug co-pay programs for these and other types of drugs, visit http://www.needymeds.com.
Below is a brief description of currently available HIV co-pay programs prepared by Jeff Berry, along with information regarding the recently announced BMS program, which is scheduled to launch later this year. The Kaletra program is scheduled to launch sometime in March.
Abbott: Positive Partnership PLUS Card—In 2009, Abbott is launching a pilot program which will expand to the Positive Partnership PLUS Card. Includes 12 months of co-pay savings and covers Kaletra plus other ARVs, no income or co-pay eligibility criteria. Patients can save up to $50 toward their Kaletra co-pay, plus up to $100 of the cost of other HIV medications (up to $50 for each additional ARV with a limit of $100 total—must be part of a Kaletra regimen.) Visit http://www.kaletra.com for more information.
Gilead: Truvada Co-pay Assistance Program—Covers Truvada, Emtriva, and Viread. For high co-pays only kicks in above $50 and up to $200/month. If health care provider does not have the card, you can call toll-free 1-888-358-0398 and it will be mailed to you. Atripla is currently not part of this program.
GSK: MySupportCard—Card is valid for the amount of your actual out-of-pocket cost up to a maximum of $100 for each prescription. All HIV drugs (Combivir, Epivir, Epzicom, Lexiva, Retrovir, Trizivir, and Ziagen) are covered. Go to http://www.mysupportcard.com for more information and to print out the card.
Tibotec: Tibotec Therapeutics Patient Savings Program—Covers Prezista and Intelence. Saves up to 80% of the amount of your actual out-of-pocket cost up to $100 per drug, per month. Visit http://www.prezista.com/prezista/patient_assistance.html or call toll-free 1-866-961-7169. BMS recently announced that they will be launching a co-pay program sometime during the first half of 2009 which will include Reyataz and Sustiva; details will be provided as they become available.
Merck does not have a specific insurance co-pay assistance program, however they do have a patient assistance program for Isentress and Crixivan called “Support.” Those needing co-pay assistance for Crixivan or Isentress should use the “Support” program.
Call 1-800-850-3430, or visit http://www.isentress.com, click on the site map, and then click “Support.” Pfizer does not offer co-pay assistance for HIV medications, however, they do provide reimbursement assistance, appeals assistance, and patient assistance for Selzentry, Viracept and Rescriptor, and also offer information on obtaining assistance with tropism testing. Call the Pfizer RSVP program at 1-888-327-RSVP (7787) M–F, 9:00 am – 8:00 pm Eastern Time; fax 1-888-773-0121, or write to Pfizer RSVP, PO Box 220574, Charlotte, NC. 28222-0574. For assistance with all other Pfizer medicines, call Pfizer Helpful Answers (PHA) at 1-866-706-2400, or visit http://www.pfizerhelpfulanswers.com.