HRSA recognizes National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day during Black History Month
Each year on February 7, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Office of HIV/AIDS (HAB) joins the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in honoring National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This important celebration is an opportunity to raise awareness in the Black community about HIV education and testing services and to highlight work to improve the quality of HIV treatment and care in Black communities across the United States. United.
For more than 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 medical care for HIV, essential support services and medications for low-income people living with HIV. In 2020, almost 562,000 individuals received care through the RWHAP. Almost three-quarters of these people belonged to racial/ethnic minority populations over 46% identifying as Black/African American.
Over the past 10 years, the RWHAP has made significant progress in reducing health disparities among people living with HIV. In 2020, a record 86.7% of Black/African American clients receiving care through the RWHAP were virally suppressed. This means they have an undetectable viral load and no risk of sexually transmitting the virus to an HIV-negative partner.
While this is great news, we understand there is still work to be done to close the gaps in HIV prevention, care and treatment. We continue to provide funds to populations in the black community most affected by the HIV epidemic, including young black men who have sex with men (MSM) and black women.
For example, we currently fund RWHAP Special Projects Initiatives of National Significance to design, develop and implement interventions that help improve health outcomes for Black men and women living with HIV. A black women-focused initiative includes interventions that improve patient navigation, case management, and peer engagement, as well as interventions that address trauma-informed care; self-efficacy, health literacy and resilience; stigma reduction; barriers to HIV care; and spousal abuse, sexual abuse, or other behavioral needs.
Another initiative focuses on developing behavioral health models to retain Black MSM in HIV medical care and support services. The models integrate behavioral health services, including treatment for substance use disorders, with HIV care to specifically address the needs of HIV-positive Black MSM. Models also use social marketing campaigns, case management programs, peer support and motivational interviewing.
Results from these projects support the development of innovative models of HIV care and treatment that can help meet the needs of RWHAP’s Black/African American clients.
We also fund initiatives to reduce HIV-related stigma (ESCALATE), build the capacity of people living with HIV to be meaningfully involved in RWHAP services (ELEVATE), and train people in living with HIV so that they can engage in leadership roles and activities related to HIV service delivery (Building Leaders of Color Living with HIV).
The HRSA HAB recognizes the key role of healthcare providers in caring for people living with HIV. Our RWHAP AIDS Education and Training Center program offers tailored trainings 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.
In honor of Black History Month and National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, we encourage you to learn more about RWHAP and the resources available to improve HIV outcomes for the Black community. . Follow HRSA on Facebook and Twitter and join the conversations using #HRSAHonorsNBHAAD.