HRSA recognizes National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
On April 10, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recognized National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD). This day is an opportunity to raise awareness of the impact of HIV/AIDS on young people and to highlight the work we do to provide care, treatment and support to young people and young adults living with HIV.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, of nearly 38,000 new HIV diagnoses in the United States, 21% were among young people, particularly young Black/African American men. Young people with HIV are also the least likely of all age groups to be aware of their HIV status, to be cared for and to have a suppressed viral load.
In the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP), we are committed to helping youth and young adults diagnosed with HIV obtain care, treatment and support services. In 2020, 3.5% of all RWHAP clients were youth and young adults between the ages of 13 and 24. Of these clients, 81.5% had a suppressed viral load. This is a significant increase from 46.6% in 2010, but still below the national RWHAP viral suppression average of 89.4%.
We must continue to engage and retain youth and young adults in HIV care and treatment to end the HIV epidemic in the United States. Our RWHAP grantees have developed several resources and interventions to support young adults living with HIV, including:
Additionally, initiatives funded by RWHAP’s Special Projects of National Importance include the Center for Innovation and Engagement, which provides youth-focused, evidence-based interventions. These interventions meet young people where they are and address barriers to care and issues that influence young people’s engagement in HIV care, such as stigma, substance use and healthy relationships.
In honor of NYHAAD, we encourage you to review these resources and share them with your colleagues and communities. Together, we can help engage more young people and young adults living with HIV in care and treatment.