32 Years: Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program

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From HIV.gov - HRSA Celebrates the 32nd Anniversary of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program

By: Laura Cheever, MD, ScM, Associate Administrator, HIV/AIDS Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services | August 18, 2022

Today [August 18] marks the 32nd anniversary of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. In 1990, Congress enacted the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act—the legislation that created the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. The Program was named after Indiana teen and AIDS advocate, Ryan White, who lost his life to AIDS in April 1990, four months before Congress passed the CARE Act. It was designed to improve the quality and availability of HIV care and treatment for low-income people with HIV. 

Over the last 32 years, the Program has made significant strides in improving HIV outcomes for people with HIV. Today, the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program serves more than a half a million people with diagnosed HIV across the United States. 

In honor of the Program’s anniversary, I’ve highlighted some of the major milestones achieved over the last three decades.  

1990-2020

  • 1990s: In 1991, HRSA distributed its first grants. Working non-stop, agency staff created grant guidelines, carried out administrative guidelines, and worked with funding applicants to build administrative structures.
  • 2000s: In 2007, the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resource Emergency (CARE) Act was renamed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Modernization Act—a change that reflects the fact that addressing HIV/AIDS is not a one-time emergency but an ongoing crisis. HRSA also began providing grants to Transitional Grant Areas that had between 1,000 and 1,999 AIDS cases in their municipality in the past five years.
  • 2010s: In 2018, studies demonstrated that people with HIV who take HIV medication as prescribed and stay virally suppressed cannot sexually transmit HIV to an HIV-negative partner.

2020-2022

  • The Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. (EHE) initiative launched with the goal of reducing new HIV infections in the U.S. to less than 3,000 per year. HRSA has a leading role in helping to diagnose, treat, prevent, and respond to end the HIV epidemic. As part of the EHE initiative, HRSA’s Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program focuses on linking people with HIV who are either newly diagnosed, or diagnosed but not currently in care, to essential HIV care, treatment, and support services.
  • The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program released its latest client-level data highlighting a record-breaking viral suppression rate. The data showed that in 2020, 89.4% of clients in the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program were virally suppressed. This viral suppression rate continues the steady uptick in viral suppression for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program over the last 10 years. In 2010, 69.5% of Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program clients were virally suppressed.

Looking ahead, the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program remains committed to promoting health equity, reducing health disparities, combatting HIV stigma, and helping people with HIV across the country get the care, treatment, and support services they need to live a long, healthy life.

Next week, August 23-26, 2022, we are hosting the 2022 National Ryan White Conference. We look forward to seeing many of you there virtually. Be sure to visit the HIV.gov blog daily for conference updates and recaps!