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Ryan White and Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

September 27, 2019



From the first reported HIV/AIDS cases in the United States in 1981 to the present, the majority of both HIV and AIDS cases have been among gay and bisexual men (men who have sex with men, MSM) and, disproportionately, among African American MSM. 

Stage 3 (AIDS) Classifications among Men Who Have Sex with Men, by Race/Ethnicity and Year of Diagnosis, 1985–2015

Stage 3 (AIDS) Classifications among Men Who Have Sex with Men, by Race/Ethnicity and Year of Diagnosis, 1985–2015

In 2017, 70% of HIV diagnoses were among MSM, with 37% of those cases being African American MSM, 29% Hispanic/Latino MSM, and 28% White MSM.

Ryan White and MSM

In 2017, most clients served by the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) were MSM living near or below the federal poverty level. According to the 2017 RWHAP Annual Client-Level Data Report, for RWHAP MSM clients:

  • 64.7% had HIV infection attributed to male-to-male sexual contact, with a demographic breakdown of 36.9% white, 34.8% black/African American, and 24.7% Hispanic/Latino
  • 53.1% were living at or below 100% of the federal poverty level and an additional 12.8% were at 100-138% of the federal poverty level 
  • Overall, MSM had a slightly higher viral suppression percentage (87.0%) than the national RWHAP average of 85.9%. By race/ethnicity, viral suppression among MSM was lowest among blacks/African Americans, at 81.0%.  

Viral Suppression Among Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) Aged 13 Year sand Older Served by the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program

Viral Suppression Among Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) Aged 13 Year sand Older Served by the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, 2017—United States and 3 Territories

HRSA TA/Training Supporting Black MSM

HRSA’s HIV/AIDS Bureau has a number of initiatives underway to enhance access to HIV care for black gay/bisexual men, presented in the form of engagement in care best practices, health literacy, and more. They include the following:

  • Well Versed is an online resource and conversation forum for health care providers and Black MSM that presents a simple platform describing what to do before, during, and after a clinic visit. 
  • His Health provides a compendium of care models, training modules, and resources for enhanced linkage, retention, and engagement strategies to support Black MSM living with HIV. This site is geared to 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 in culturally appropriate ways.
  • In It Together was designed to improve the capacity of health departments and community-based organizations to deliver health-literate HIV services, with a particular focus on health services provided to Black/African American MSM.

Investigating New Models of Care

In 2018, HRSA's SPNS program started a new initiative to support the implementation and evaluation of evidence-informed models of care designed to engage, link, and retain Black MSM in HIV medical care and supportive services. The effort is called Implementation of Evidence-Informed Behavioral Health Models to Improve HIV Health Outcomes for Black Men Who Have Sex With Men.

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