HIV patients to start paying for lab tests and medication; Foundation under financial pressure

The original article can be found in: BVI News Online

Persons living with HIV here in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) will have to start helping to cover the costs for their lab work and medication, starting the beginning of next month.

The BVI HIV/AIDS Foundation, which usually covers the full costs, on Tuesday, announced that it will reduce the scope of its assistance due to increasing financial challenges.

Chairman of the Foundation Marvin Grant told BVI News Online that assistance will soon be given on a case-by-case basis, depending on each patient’s financial standing.

Stating that there are close to 40 HIV patients being assisted by the Foundation here in the BVI, Grant implored those who can pay to do so. He said that would enable the Foundation to assist more people.

The Foundation spends approximately $67,000 per annum for basic operations, excluding things like social awareness initiatives. Of that amount, the BVI government contributes roughly 50%.

Grant stated that the government subvention for 2013 has not been received. “We would hope that there has not been any decrease. We would prefer to see an increase in that regard.”

Fundraising challenges

With roughly 50% of the overall basic budget covered by the government, the Foundation usually sources the remaining budgeted amounts through fundraising activities.

Grant said fundraising has become very difficult particularly due to the harsh economic times facing many persons.

“We have had to go out and do fundraisers and things of that nature to raise the additional sums of monies. Given the economic times and everything I think that is proving a little challenging,” he said.

“It’s not that we want to stop assisting folks, because we know there are persons out there who really it’s difficult for them to pay for their medications and follow-up care. Given the nature of the disease, we can’t allow persons to go untreated and things of that nature. But we simply would also like to rectify our current financial situation.”

Patients currently receiving assistance through the HVI/AIDS Foundation should urgently contact Grant at the following numbers: 442-0212 or 494-7701(w) to set up an appointment.

Failure to make contact, the Foundation said, will result in such persons no longer receiving assistance as at May 31, 2013. “At this date, the Foundation will regrettably cease to be responsible for the cost of continued care and treatment and these services would have to be paid for in full by those individuals.”

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