I am now on HIV medications, which I get with help from the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) in South Carolina. I do have Medicaid and Medicare, but without Ryan White I wouldn’t be able to afford the copays for my meds. Medicaid and Ryan White go together and work better together. I also can get dental care, vision care, mental health services and help with transportation through Ryan White. If I couldn’t get help from Ryan White, I wouldn’t get the proper health care that I need. I think I’d be frustrated, and probably sick.
Instead, my health is great generally—I am one of the fortunate ones. With feeling good, I’m able to be involved, do public speaking, advocate and educate about HIV. When I moved to Greenville in 2009 to be closer to my son and his wife, I was on the news to educate about HIV. Now I get asked to speak at churches, and I hope to be able to speak to young people in schools. I’m planning to start a group for women, to help inform them. I’m always passionate in what I do, and my motto is “speak up and speak out.”
South Carolina ranks 13th in the nation in deaths among adults with an HIV diagnosis. The State of South Carolina has not yet expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. As a result, an estimated 2,500 of the lowest-income HIV+ residents of South Carolina have been left out of coverage available in other states. They must rely on Ryan White funding for crucial medical care and other supportive services. In 2011, 9,436 South Carolinians received services through the Ryan White program.
Take action now!
- Tell your legislators to continue to support the Ryan White program.
- Do you live in a state that has not expanded Medicaid? Let your legislators know how important Medicaid expansion is to your state.
- Check out advocacy tools and resources for Ryan White in South Carolina.
Co-sponsors: AIDS United, Southern AIDS Strategy Initiative, Southern AIDS Coalition, Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation at Harvard Law School, HIVHealthReform.org, HIV Prevention Justice Alliance, and the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.
This campaign has been made possible by the generous support of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.