Ryan White and Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Ryan White and Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

February 7, 2018
National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Women account for nearly one fourth of people living with HIV infection in the United States (CDC data) and 27.3% of Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) clients (2016 Ryan White Client-Level Data Report). Minority women comprise 83.8% of Ryan White female clients, of which 61.5% are African American, 19.7% are Latina, and 16.2% are white. This heavy burden is driven by an environment of poverty, lack of access to health care, and substance abuse. Female Ryan White clients have lower incomes than male clients, according to the 2016 report.

March 10 is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. The 2017 theme is "The Best Defense Is a Good Offense."

HIV Health Outcomes Among Women

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 HIV health outcomes by gender and other client characteristics. 

  • From 2010 through 2016, viral suppression increased from 66.3% to 84.0% among female clients, similar to increases seen among male clients (70.9% to 85.4% and transgender clients (61.5% to 79.4%).
  • The percentage of Black/African American women who were virally suppressed (82.6%) was slightly lower than the national RWHAP average (84.9%) and with the percentage for women overall (84.0%).
  • Viral suppression among Hispanic/Latina women (86.5%) was slightly higher than the national RWHAP average (84.9%) and that of women overall (84.0%). 
  • Although the rate of viral suppression among transgender women (transgender male-to-female clients) increased about 12 percentage points to 79.0% from 2011 to 2016, it remained the lowest rate of viral suppression across gender subpopulations.

Technical Assistance Resources on Women and HIV

A collection of TA and training manuals and other resources focused on women with HIV/AIDS is available on the TARGET Center, including:

woc implementation guide
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. 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.


Guide to the Clinical Care of Women with HIV features specific tools for clinicians in caring for women living with HIV. The Guide is among the most downloaded HIV/AIDS clinical protocols developed by the HRSA HIV/AIDS Bureau. See also the National HIV Curriculum, developed by HRSA's AETC Program, which will be adding chapters on working with Special Populations.

In addition, several new HRSA TA and training projects include a focus on various populations, including women. 

  • Building Care/Prevention Capacity: HIV Care Continuum in Southern Metro Areas, funded under the Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund, will implement innovative models of service delivery to improve minority population health along the HIV care continuum. The focus will be on men who have sex with men (MSM), youth, cisgender and transgender women, and people who inject drugs (PWID).
  • Yet another HRSA TA project, Leadership Training for People of Color Living with HIV, is training people of color living with HIV to participate in RWHAP planning bodies, medical and support care teams, boards of directors, and other mobilization efforts to address the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy: Updated to 2020. The project will also support leadership development for transgender women of color and support expansion of the capacity of HIV prevention and care delivery systems.

Ryan White Programs Focusing on Women

While all Ryan White programs deliver care to women living with HIV, several have a special focus on women and girls as well as their families.

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