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

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

February 7, 2018
TARGET Center
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

Nearly three-quarters of RWHAP clients are from racial/ethnic minority populations; 47.1% of RWHAP clients self-identified as Black/African American.

HIV Outcomes by Gender

Data on health outcomes of RWHAP clients are from the HRSA Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Services Report Client-Level Data Reporting System, which issues an annual report on Ryan White client characteristics 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. Among the latest is the Center for Engaging Black MSM Across the Care Continuum (CEBACC). Some offshoots of CEBAAC are as follows:

 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.

Women of Color Implementation GuideThe 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, Enhancing Access to HIV Care for Women of Color, 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 transgender women of color, young MSM of color, substance users (under the buprenorphine initiative), and persons in correctional settings or those soon to be released to the community. The latest SPNS initiative, started in 2015, will look across the board at Dissemination of Evidence-Informed Interventions, linkage and retention initiatives identified under previous projects funded by SPNS and the Secretary's Minority Health Initiative.

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