As the physicians who oversaw Maine’s HIV Program, we would like to answer a recent letter that claims this program drew gays to move to Maine.

The overwhelming source for the higher-than-predicted enrollment in the program was the federal requirement that people already with MaineCare insurance infected with HIV be enrolled in the new program. This resulted in the caseload starting about 300 over predictions.

Aside from those existing MaineCare members being added to the program at its start, the program has grown more slowly than we predicted. The strongest, most recent growth in the program has been among heterosexual women, who were infected by their husbands or other male partners.

Maine’s HIV Program has been tremendously successful, resulting in those living with this infection to remain on live-saving medications that then allow them to work and otherwise lead productive and meaningful lives.

The program also has shown to be cost-neutral, meaning that the program’s services pay for itself through improved health status leading to people needing fewer higher-cost services. In other words, it is less expensive to treat HIV infection in its early stages rather than waiting until an individual is seriously ill with late-stage infection.

As a result of this success, other states have emulated this program and started their own.

Maine is fortunate to have a dedicated group of individuals, both within and outside of state government, who are committed to providing high quality HIV care, treatment and prevention services.

Indeed, we should be proud of leading the way to improving the lives of all Mainers, including those living with HIV.

Roderick Prior, M.D.

former medical director of MaineCare

Dora Anne Mills, M.D.

former director of Maine CDC

Brunswick


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