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

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

September 26, 2017
logo for youth aids awareness day

As it was in the earliest days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, gay and bisexual men (men who have sex with men, MSM) comprise the majority of HIV/AIDS cases in the U.S., representing over half of those infected with HIV/AIDS. MSM represent about half of clients served by the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program.

About two-thirds of new HIV infections in the U.S. each year are among MSM. The impact is heaviest on African American MSM. Trends in U.S. HIV/AIDS cases show a continued disproportionate impact on MSM. According to CDC: "From 2005 to 2014, HIV diagnoses decreased in the United States by 19% overall, but increased 6% among all gay and bisexual men, driven by increases among African American and Hispanic/Latino gay and bisexual men." Get the latest facts on HIV/AIDS and MSM (July 2017).

His Health Discover Innovation video from this MSM HIV care engagement project.

Ryan White and MSM

In 2015, of the 479,663 clients served by the RWHAP with a reported transmission risk category, 47.5% had HIV infection attributed to male-to-male sexual contact or male-to-male sexual contact and injection drug use (i.e., MSM). Of these individuals:

Ryan White MSM Clients by Age, 2015

MSM Served by RWHAP, by Age Group, 2015, U.S.

See the slide set on RWHAP MSM Clients, 2015.

Ryan White Care Makes a Difference

RWHAP clients, including MSM, have better HIV health outcomes than those not getting RWHAP services. According to the 2015 HRSA RSR client level data report, among RWHAP clients:

  • Retention in care for MSM (79.7%) was consistent with the national RWHAP average (80.6%) and with the average for men overall (79.8%).
  • Viral Suppression for MSM (84.7%) was slightly higher than the national RWHAP average (83.4%) and was relatively consistent with the average for men overall (83.9%). By race/ethnicity, viral suppression among MSM was lowest among Blacks/African Americans (77.7%) and was highest among Asians (90.4%) and Whites (89.6%). 

Ryan White MSM Clients, Viral Suppression, 2015

Viral Suppression Among MSM 13 Years/Older Served by RWHAP, by Race/Ethnicity, 2015, U.S.

HRSA TA/Training Targeting 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:

Well Versed
Well Versed is an online resource and conversation forum for health care providers and Black MSM. The Well Versed website 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 targeting Black MSM. This 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 in culturally appropriate ways.


In It Together, National Health Literacy Project for Black MSM, is 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.

HRSA has funded other TA/training projects that address other populations, including MSM, like Building Care/Prevention Capacity: HIV Care Continuum in Southern Metro Areas; Improving Access to Care Using Community Health Workers Increase Access to Health Care Coverage & Improve Health Literacy; and Building Leaders of Color Living with HIV. In addition, a SPNS Initiative seeks to use social media to improve care engagement across the HIV Care Continuum.

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