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HRSA Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

February 7, 2018


National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Remarkable Improvements in Viral Suppression

Most individuals who get their HIV/AIDS care from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) have low incomes and little or no health insurance coverage, but relatively high rates of viral suppression.

The same holds for Black/African American individuals getting RWHAP care. Viral suppression rates in particular have seen dramatic improvements, with Black/African American rates jumping from 63.3% in 2010 to 81.3% in 2016. However, these rates are consistently lower than those seen among other racial/ethnic groups. (See chart below.)

RWHAP provides a comprehensive system of HIV primary medical care, medications and essential support services for low-income people living with HIV (PLWH).

Bar chart showing increases in viral load suppression for different demographic groups

47.1% of RWHAP clients self-identified as Black/African American

HIV Outcomes by Gender

RWHAP Data Reports present client level data on demographics and health outcomes. The RSR also provides insights into Black/African American HIV health outcomes by gender and other client characteristics. 

  • The percentages of Black/African American men achieving viral suppression was slightly lower (80.7%) than the average of 84.9%.
  • The percentages of Black/African American women who were virally suppressed (82.6%) were relatively consistent with the national Ryan White average 84.9%.

African American Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Initiatives

In recognition of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on February 7 and this year's theme “Stay the Course, the Fight Is Not Over," a recap of RWHAP Technical Assistance (TA), training, and other activities--from models of care to special initiatives--is presented below. 

Engaging Black MSM in Care

HRSA has supported numerous initiatives over the decades to enhance care delivery for hard-hit populations.

HRSA Initiatives:

  • His Health: Engaging Black MSM in HIV Care with a compendium of care models, training modules, and resources for enhanced linkage, retention, and engagement strategies targeting Black MSM. The site targets providers and offers continuing medical education (CME) and continuing nursing unit (CNU) credits for clinicians to increase their capacity to accelerate health care service delivery to Black MSM
  • Well Versed is a conversation-starting resource for health care providers and Black MSM. This consumer-oriented website provides information about how to get the most out of health care by being active and informed
  • In It Together, a National Health Literacy Project for Black MSM, is another recent HRSA-supported project designed to increase health professionals’ understanding and use of health literacy to improve engagement and retention in HIV care and treatment

Improving Care for African Americans

HRSA has funded additional TA and training initiatives targeting African Americans and other minority populations, including efforts focused on health coverage enrollment assistance for underserved populations, health literacy, improved treatment for people co-infected with HIV and hepatitis C, care delivery approaches such as use of community health workers, and leadership training for people of color. 

See more cultural competency resources targeting men who have sex with men

The RWHAP Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) program is part of the success with RWHAP client outcomes in its decades-long investigation of innovative models of HIV/AIDS care, including those focused on minority and underserved populations. One recent example is the Enhancing Access for Women of Color Initiative, 2009-2014.

Some of the findings from this project have been compiled in the implementation guide, Women of Color: Enhancing Access, developed under the Integrating HIV Innovative Practices (IHIP), a HRSA initiative that is turning SPNS innovation into practice with manuals, curricula, webinars, and tools.

Multiple SPNS projects target innovations for African Americans living with HIV/AIDS, including Dissemination of Evidence-Informed Interventions

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