Ryan White and Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Ryan White and Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

March 2, 2017
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 27.6 percent of Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) clients (2015 Ryan White Client-Level Data Report). Minority women comprise the majority of these Ryan White clients: 61.8 percent are African American women while Latinas account for 19.2 percent. This heavy burden is driven by an environment of poverty, lack of access to health care, and substance abuse. Female clients of Ryan White have lower incomes than male clients, according to the 2015 report.

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

Ryan White HIV Care Makes a Difference

Overall, Ryan White clients have higher rates of retention in care (80.6 percent), and better viral suppression (83.4 percent), compared with national data. According to the 2015 Ryan White Client-Level Data Report, the same holds true for female Ryan White clients, whose health outcomes are comparable with overall Ryan White results:

  • Among Ryan White clients, women have rates of retention in care (82.8 percent) and viral load suppression (82.4 percent) that are comparable with overall Ryan White figures.  
  • The percentages of black/African American women who were retained in care (82.2 percent) and virally suppressed (80.6 percent) were relatively consistent with national Ryan White averages.
  • Overall, Hispanic/Latino women had a higher retention-in-care percentage (86.6 percent) than the national Ryan White average, while viral suppression (85.2 percent) was relatively consistent with the national Ryan White average.
  • Although the rate of viral suppression among transgender women (transgender male-to-female clients) increased 12 percentage points to 77.0% from 2011 to 2015, it remains the lowest rate of viral suppression across gender subpopulations.

Technical Assistance Resources on Women and HIV

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

  • Enhancing Access to HIV Care for Women of Color, which presents practical information for providers to address the unique needs of women. Lessons learned are from SPNS research demonstration project findings. 
  • Guide to the Clinical Care of Women with HIV, featuring 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. HRSA's Guide for HIV/AIDS Clinical Care also contains multiple chapters that provide essential information on care for women living with HIV/AIDS. The Guide was developed by the AETC National Coordinating Resource Center (NCRC), which offers many training tools for clinicians (see the sidebar).

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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