Ryan White and National Youth HIV and AIDS Awareness Day

Ryan White and National Youth HIV and AIDS Awareness Day

March 27, 2017
TARGET Center
logo for youth aids awareness day

Twenty-two percent (22%) of new HIV cases in 2014 in the U.S. were among young people (ages 13-24), according to CDC. Cases are overwhelmingly among gay/bisexual men, particularly African Americans. Close to half of HIV-infected youth were undiagnosed and thus not linked to care. Of those diagnosed, 78% were linked to care within 3 months, which does not compare favorably to other age groups.

The role of this HIV/AIDS Awareness Days, therefore, has heightened importance to not just raise sensitivity to HIV/AIDS but to encourage young people to adopt safer practices, get tested, and--if infected--engage in care.

As the generations pass, it seems that fewer people are aware that the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program was named after Ryan, a young man who fought AIDS discrimination in the early years. He died 25 years ago, about the time the legislation was enacted.

Youth & Ryan White: Retention, Viral Suppression

Two men

The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) has since created a rich history as an important provider of care to young people like Ryan. According to HRSA's 2015 Ryan White Client-Level Data Report, 5.1% of RWHAP clients are under age 24 (Table 1b).

RWHAP clients have higher rates of retention in care, and better viral suppression, compared with national data. The same holds true for younger RWHAP clients (ages 13-24 years). However,  RWHAP clients 13-24 do not fair as well as adult RWHAP clients. Their retention in care rate is lower (76.3%) than the national RWHAP average  (80.6%) and viral suppression was much lower (68.6%) than the RWHAP average (83.4%).

Social Media and Youth Living with HIV

HRSA's Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) has explored innovations in HIV care since 1991, targeting various issues and populations with a special focus on youth. A current SPNS Initiative: Use of Social Media to Improve Engagement, Retention, and Health Outcomes along the HIV Care Continuum, 2015-2019, is investigating social media interventions that can engage HIV-positive youth who are not in care to engage in such services. 

Learn more about the SPNS Social Media initiative and its Evaluation and Technical Assistance Center.

TA, Training Including Youth

HRSA's HIV/AIDS Bureau funded a series of new technical assistance and training initiatives in late 2016, targeting various topics and populations, including youth and young adults living with HIV. They include projects focused on building care capacity in the south, use of community health workers to engage people in HIV care, health care coverage and health literacy, integrated planning, and leadership training for people of color.

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HIV/AIDS Awareness Days and Ryan White