(Columbia) - After living with HIV for eight years, Brian Morgan is used to taking pills while trying to pay the bills.
"We're living longer, we're living healthier--if you can get the medicines," Morgan said.
One prescrition alone would normally cost him $1,500 a month; but, through the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), Morgan gets it for free.
"I don't know what I would do," he said. "I wouldn't have these medications and I wouldn't be sitting here looking healthy and with these fat cheeks."
Currently, though, that is the reality for more than 200 South Carolinians on the ADAP waiting list. According to the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors, the longest waiting list in any other state is Indiana's with 33 people.
"It's very telling that we didn't have a waiting list at this time last year," said Carmen Julious, Director of Palmetto AIDS Life Support Services. "Because of cuts in funding and because of budget decisions we had to make, we all of a sudden have one of the largest waiting lists in the country."
The ADAP program is primarily funded by the federal government, but Julious says she's going to lobby lawmakers for additional state funds.
"This is a crisis. People are dying. We have medications available that can help people sustain health and increase their life expectancy but these folks who need this medication have no access," Julious said.
She said the program needs three million dollars just to clear the wait list by June of 2007 and another eight million would be needed by 2008.
News 19 contacted a variety of lawmakers and while most said they weren't aware of the problem they believed it was an issue to consider.
Governor Mark Sanford's office said it wouldn't make any budget recommendations until January.