Healthcare related costs are a major problem for many Americans who are uninsured and underinsured, even if they are relatively healthy. For people with a serious medical condition these financial problems can be even worse. One diagnosis that finds many patients in an expensive position is HIV/AIDS. A diagnosis of HIV or AIDS comes with a hefty price tag, according to study on NBC news, “An American diagnosed with the AIDS virus can expect to live for about 24 years on average, and the cost of health care over those two-plus decades is more than $600,000, new research indicates… The researchers estimated the monthly cost of care at $2,100, with about two-thirds of that spent on medications.” For patients without insurance these costs are extremely daunting. Luckily, there is a program to help uninsured and underinsured AIDS patients – the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, formerly known as the Ryan White CARE (Comprehensive AIDS Resource Emergency) Act.

Who was Ryan White?

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Many patients living with HIV or AIDS take special medications to treat their conditions, which are often very expensive. There has been an increase in demand for HIV and AIDS treatment and medication, for a number of reasons. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “The epidemic is growing rapidly among minorities, who have historically experienced higher risk for poverty, lack of health insurance, comorbidity, and disenfranchisement from the health care system. The result is a growing number of people living with HIV disease who require public support.” Low-income patients diagnosed with HIV or AIDS often need additional financial assistance to cover the high cost of their treatments.

Federal Help

Luckily there is help available in each state and territory of the United States. “Part B of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-87) provides grants to States and U.S. Territories to improve the quality, availability, and organization of HIV/AIDS

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By Brenda Hawkes, Patient Advocacy Manager, and Justine Dolorfino, Social Media Specialist & Communications at Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy

If you have a prescription to treat a serious disease or condition such as HIV, psoriasis, or cancer, chances are that you get your medications through a specialty pharmacy. You may have wondered what the ‘specialty’ in the title means and why that makes a difference.  We can help explain that here.

What Is A Specialty Pharmacy?

Specialty pharmacy is a branch of pharmacy care that helps people with special and often long-term needs. These people include those with conditions like cancer, multiple sclerosis or HIV, as well as people with fertility issues or who’ve received a transplant. Specialty pharmacy care allows people to continue leading lives outside a hospital, with better outcomes and lower overall costs.

To treat these diseases and conditions, specialty pharmacies focus on specialty and limited-distribution drugs, which require special handling, storage, and dosing.  These treatments are often expensive, and typically, they’re offered only at specialty

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An estimated 56,000 persons in the United States become infected with HIV every year. Of the 1.1 million persons living with HIV in the United States, approximately 250,000 are not aware of their infection and their risk for transmitting HIV to others. Of those who are unaware, many are diagnosed late in the course of their infection, after a prolonged asymptomatic period during which further transmission may have occurred. Persons who are diagnosed late in their infection miss a valuable opportunity to start HIV care and are at greater risk for AIDS-related complications (than those diagnosed earlier). Therefore, it should be a priority to identify HIV-infected persons and actively link the newly diagnosed to medical care, prevention and retention programs in the HIV care system. However, depending on the availability of publicly funded programs on a state by state basis, HIV medications are often not readily accessible to those who are uninsured.

Of the 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States, approximately 25% are uninsured and even more than that will experience a gap in health coverage at some point during

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