HRSA observes National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Each year on February 7, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB) and federal agencies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recognize National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD). This celebration is an opportunity to increase awareness of HIV education, testing, and care and treatment services within the Black/African American community, as well as to highlight the work being done to reduce HIV in these communities across the United States.

HRSA’s Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program

For three decades, HRSA’s Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) has funded grants to cities, counties, states, and local community organizations and clinics to provide a comprehensive system of primary HIV medical care, essential supports and medications for low-income people living with HIV. In 2019, nearly 568,000 individuals received care through the RWHAP. About three-quarters of these people belonged to racial/ethnic minority populations over 46% identifying as Black/African American. Of the Black/African American clients served by RWHAP, approximately 44% are age 50 and older.

In 2019, a record 85.2% of Black/African American clients receiving care through the RWHAP were virally suppressedmeaning they have an undetectable viral load and no risk of sexually transmitting the virus to an HIV-negative partner.

While this is encouraging news, we know there is still work to be done to reduce health disparities among RWHAP clients. Not all people and communities are affected equally by HIV, which is why RWHAP continues to focus its efforts on key populations where HIV is most concentrated, including Black/African Americans , especially young black/African American men who have sex with men (MSM), and young black women. The goal is to ensure that individuals from these key populations are tested for HIV and have access to necessary care, treatment and medication if they test positive.

We also fund initiatives under the RWHAP Part F Special Projects of National Significance program to help improve HIV outcomes for Black men and women, including initiatives to:

  • Design, implement and evaluate interventions that improve coordination of care and treatment for Black women living with HIV. (Funded with support from the Minority HIV/AIDS Fund.)
  • Develop evidence-based behavioral health models to retain Black MSM in HIV medical care and support services.

The results of these projects will support the development of innovative HIV care and treatment strategies that can help meet the needs of RWHAP’s Black/African American clients.

We also recognize the key role healthcare providers play in caring for people living with HIV. Our RWHAP AIDS Education and Training Centers offer tailored training to increase the capacity of minority providers and providers who treat minority patients. Thanks to our In It Together Health Literacy Project, we have developed training specifically for healthcare professionals serving gay, bisexual and other Black/African American MSM. These resources are available on the TargetHIV website.

In honor of NBHAAD, we encourage you to learn more about RWHAP and the resources available to improve HIV outcomes for the Black community.

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