Free medications from the AIDs-HIV Drug Assistance Program (ADAP).

The AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) provides free prescription medications and other health care benefits. It is offered at the state level, but it is funded by the federal government. The program was created to provide for the treatment of HIV/AIDS, provide funds for the resulting health care issues that may arise from the condition and opportunistic infections. The ADAP program targets those people who are low income, and or who have limited or no health insurance coverage.

In total, ADAP offers lifesaving prescription medications to almost 200,000 low income as well as uninsured and underinsured Americans who are living with HIV-AIDS. Possibly as a result of the weak economy, enrollment in this federal and state government assistance program has surged to record levels over the last few years.

How does AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) work

The federal government funded ADAP serves as a program that is known as the payer of last resort. What that means is that the program provides free prescription medications to patients. Or in some cases the program may pay for the health insurance premiums, medical or hospital bills or maintenance for people with HIV/AIDS when no other funding source is available to them.

The free prescription drug medications that are provided through AIDS Drug Assistance Program can help patients with AIDS or HIV live longer by treating the symptoms of the HIV infection. In addition, the ADAP can even help individuals who have limited health insurance or who have a Medicaid spend down requirement as part of their government insurance program.

Demand for the services offered by ADAP depends on the number of patients seeking services, the cost of the prescription medications, and it also depends on the size of the prescription drug "gap" that ADAPs must fill in their local state jurisdiction.





The program becomes successful and helps patients in two main ways. The first is it pays for the health insurance (insurance deductibles, premiums, and medical bill co-payments and ) that includes coverage of HIV or AID treatments. The other way that the program has been successful is in providing Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved HIV-related prescription drugs to people living with HIV/AIDS.

How to get prescription medications from ADAP

There are several conditions and criteria that need to be met in order to get assistance from AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). Those criteria include the following.

In order to become a client of the ADAP program, the patient needs to have AIDS or be HIV-positive. In addition, they must be low-income and either under- or uninsured. However, the exact income thresholds are determined on a state by state basis.

As indicated above, while income levels will vary by state, in general financial eligibility ranges from 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) in 9 states to 500% FPL in 6 states. In addition, several states also use asset limits to determine eligibility for the medications.

All ADAP programs require applicants to be residents in their state, and since the service is run at the state level, most will require proof of residency.

Each state that runs a AIDS Drug Assistance Program will require documentation from the patients doctor of their HIV status. Some of the states use additional clinical eligibility criteria (e.g., specific CD4 counts or viral load ranges) and other states use clinical criteria in order for a patient to access particular drugs.




In addition to receiving free prescriptions for AIDS or HIV, there are numerous other free prescription medication programs, including options such as HealthWell.

Contact to apply for help from ADAP

The AIDS Drug Assistance Programs are funded by the federal government, but administered by state governments. Click here to find information on how to access free health care or prescription programs, or click here to get a listing of numerous state government assistance programs.


By Jon McNamara

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