Celebrating 25 Years of Passion, Purpose, and Excellence

The Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act, the legislation that created the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP), celebrates 25 years of providing comprehensive care for people living with HIV (PLWH) in 2015.

Over the last 25 years, the RWHAP has achieved significant progress in improving client outcomes along the HIV Continuum of Care. In 2013, 81 percent of RWHAP clients were retained in care, and 78.6 percent of those retained in care had remained virally suppressed. Viral suppression is important because it helps people with HIV live longer and have healthier lives, and it greatly reduces their chances of transmitting HIV to others.1

In summer 2015, the Administration celebrated the achievements of RWHAP, honored the life of Ryan White, and looked back at the historic efforts to pass the landmark legislation with an event at the White House. The event, entitled “Moving Forward with CARE: Building on 25 Years of Passion, Purpose, and Excellence,” featured Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Jeanne White-Ginder, the mother of the young man who inspired the legislation, co-sponsors of the bill Senator Orrin Hatch and former Representative Henry Waxman, and members of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program community, including Federal, academic, and community leaders, as well as people living with HIV.

To commemorate the 25th anniversary, President Barack Obama issued a letter recognizing the achievements of the Program:

The Ryan White Program continues to be a cornerstone of our strategy to address HIV across America. It is part of our collective effort to ensure that every American has unfettered access to high-quality care—free from stigma and discrimination—and it helps us inch closer to a day when nobody has to know the pain caused by this devastating disease.2

— President Barack Obama

In addition, the 2015 U.S. Conference on AIDS, held September 10–13, 2015, in Washington, D.C., featured a special track highlighting the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and the 25th anniversary.

Looking forward, I envision an even brighter future for the Program. As always, we will be committed to addressing client needs and gaps in the continuum of care... Together, we will move forward in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

— Laura W. Cheever, M.D., Sc.M.
Associate Administrator for HIV/AIDS, Health Resources and Services Administration

Funded at $2.3 billion in fiscal year 2015, the RWHAP provides a broad range of services, from transportation and case management support to mental health counseling and medication copayment assistance.3 Offering access to a coordinated and comprehensive system of health care and treatment, RWHAP allows PLWH to live longer and healthier lives. Now more than ever, RWHAP is playing a critical role as the United States strives to reach the goal of an AIDS-free generation.

Through the RWHAP, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) continues to fund hundreds of RWHAP grant recipients across the Nation, providing services to PLWH who are uninsured or underinsured. Despite the many successes of RWHAP, health disparities for PLWH still exist. More than a half million Americans do not have adequate insurance coverage or personal assets to manage their condition. About 60 percent of people who have been diagnosed with HIV in the United States receive at least one RWHAP-funded service.4 Twenty-five years later, increasing awareness about RWHAP is necessary to help PLWH access the care they need and is essential if the Nation is to reach zero new infections.

HRSA celebrates the enormous impact RWHAP has achieved over the last 25 years for PLWH. As we move forward to implement the comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy: Updated to 2020, we will continue our efforts to reduce new HIV infections, improve health outcomes for PLWH and reduce HIV-related disparities and health inequities.