Supporting HIV care through education and innovation

Ryan White and National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Ryan White and National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

January 17, 2014
National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

HRSA's Ryan White program has been relentless in responding to the heavy impact of HIV/AIDS on African Americans. Consider the people served. About 47% of Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program clients are African Americans; 44% of HIV/AIDS cases are Black Americans.

Additionally, examine the HRSA and grantee initiatives (summarized below) that seek to improve care and client outcomes for African Americans living with HIV/AIDS--the most recent being a funding request to establish a Resource and Technical Assistance Center for HIV Prevention and Care for Black Men who Have Sex with Men (Black MSM) (see funding annoucement HRSA-14-106). These efforts complement the clinical protocols, care engagement models, and other activities that guide the delivery of HIV/AIDS care to all affected populations served under the Ryan White program. The path to further progress can be found in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and its focus on reducing disparities--especially the HIV care continuum's goal to maximize engagement in care and viral suppression--as well as the Affordable Care Act's mission to expand health care coverage to all Americans.

In response to the 2014 theme of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, I Am My Brother's and Sister's Keeper: Fight HIV/AIDS, we provide a recap of Ryan White technical assistance, training, and other activities--from models of care to special initiatives.

Innovations in Care Delivery

In comparison to national data on engagement in the continuum of care, Ryan White clients have better outcomes in terms of retention in care, receipt of antiretroviral therapy, and viral supression. The Ryan White SPNS program is part of this success in its decades-long investigation of innovative models of HIV/AIDS care, including those focused on minority and underserved populations. Recent examples include Enhancing Access for Women of Color Initiative, 2009-2014 (see the Evaluation Center site) and Enhancing Engagement and Retention in Quality HIV Care for Transgender Women of Color, 2012-2016. Additional SPNS initiatives (current and past) exploring HIV/AIDS care among African Americans and other minority populations include projects targeting young MSM of color and special populations that are disproportionately African American, including HIV-infected individuals, substance users (under the buprenorphine initiative), and persons in correctional settings or those soon to be released to the community.

SPNS is turning innovation into practice with manuals, curricula, webinars, and tools under iHIP: Integrating HIV Innovative Practices.


Stigma around HIV/AIDS remains a barrier to care for people from all communities, including African Americans. Another challenge to care is increasing the capacity of staff members to deliver care to minority communities in a culturally appropriate manner. A wealth of tools is available on the TARGET Center’s Cultural Competency topic page. One example is the BESAFE Cultural Competency Model.

Testing, Engaging People in Care

HIV testing and linking people to care is a focal point of Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Getting people into care is a major aim of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and a means for addressing the treatment cascade, a mathematical concept based on the premise that only limited numbers of infected individuals in the United States are getting a level of care that is sufficient to maximize viral suppression. The TARGET Center’s HIV Testing topic page presents many tools for clinicians and programs to use in conducting HIV testing in clinic settings. Similarly, the Engagement in Care topic page presents a host of technical resources that have been developed by HRSA and Ryan White agencies to improve care engagement.

Clinical Training

The AETC clinical training program for Ryan White includes multiple specialized training projects and resources for populations and issues. See the topic page for listings of resources specific to African Americans and many other timely topics.

Part of Collection

HIV/AIDS Awareness Days and Ryan White

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