January 22, 2013
GLAD is working with Massachusetts Representative Carl Sciortino to pass an Act Relative to HIV-Associated Lipodystrophy Treatment (HD2612), introduced on Jan 18. The bill requires private insurers, MassHealth, and the Group Insurance Commission to provide medical treatment for lipodystrophy, a debilitating and disfiguring side effect of some HIV medications.
HIV antiviral medications, known as “triple combination therapy” or “the cocktail,” revolutionized AIDS care in the 1990’s, extending the lives of people with HIV. These medications also can result in lipodystrophy, the abnormal distribution of body fat. The condition creates “visible disfiguring and stigmatizing morphological changes” in body shape and appearance, causing profound physical and psychological harm to people with HIV.
While there are inexpensive, effective medical treatments for lipodystrophy, insurers routinely deny claims for treatment on the basis that they are cosmetic and not medically necessary.