These meds are critical to not only many people's physical health but also mental and emotional health. HIV medications only work when taken every single day. If access is limited for even a couple days, a week or more, that medication that had been working to control HIV may no longer work for that patient. This is why access for HIV patients is so critical. Also, while adhering to a successful medication regimen, an HIV-positive individual is far less infectious to others. (http://www.poz.com/articles/, http://www.webmd.com/hiv-aids/news/) This makes the cost of the medications much more cost-effective than cost-prohibitive.
Having a 30-day/30-pill supply of a medication cost thousands of dollars is extreme to begin with. Yes, R&D for antiretrovirals is expensive, but when you multiply that 30-day supply by 12 months, then by years, then by the number of consumers taking these meds, the costs begin to seem completely out of balance. The top one-a-day HIV combination costs $2,177 a month. (http://www.goodrx.com/hiv-nrti-nnrti-combinations)