COLUMBIA — The South Carolina House of Representatives voted in early March to remove all funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) and HIV prevention. These funds support HIV/AIDS service agencies and provide life saving medication to low-income people living with the virus.

In response, the South Carolina HIV/AIDS Care Crisis Task Force (SCHACCTF) will stage a protest rally in front of the State House (Gervais and Assemby Sts.) on Wednesday, March 17. The event begins at 11:30 a.m. Organizers are asking participants to arrive no later than 11 a.m., bring a photo I.D. and wear red.

South Carolina officials’ decision to cut ADAP funding follows a similar trend nationwide. In January, North Carolina officials announced they would begin capping their ADAP program. After years of decline in waiting lists and increased funding for such programs, the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors say 10 states now have ADAP waiting lists, including North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky. Another 10 have cost containment measures in place or pending.

For more information regarding Wednesday’s protest call the HIV/AIDS Task Force at 803-254-6644.

Deaidre Newby

Deaidre Newby is a former editorial intern for QNotes.