Celebrating 30 Years of the Ryan White CARE Act
Cross-posted from HHS Newsroom
Today marks the 30th anniversary of the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act. Signed into law on August 18, 1990, this landmark legislation created the largest federal program focused exclusively on providing care and treatment to people with HIV, called the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program.
Administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program funds grants to cities, states, counties, and local community-based organizations across the country. For 30 years the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program has bolstered a comprehensive system of HIV primary medical care, medication and essential support services to more than half a million people with HIV in the United States.
“The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program has been a cornerstone of the public health response to HIV in the United States for the last three decades,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “What was once a deadly disease is now a manageable chronic condition, and we see that in the success of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, with the vast majority of its clients reaching viral suppression. In large part due to the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, we now have the tools we need to end the HIV epidemic in the United States.”
“The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program is a key part of the Administration's Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America, a 10-year initiative that aims to reduce new HIV infections in the United States by 90 percent by 2030,” said HRSA Administrator Tom Engels. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, the program remains committed to providing lifesaving services to the nation's most vulnerable populations, including people with HIV.”
The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program provides care and treatment services to low-income people with HIV—who are among the hardest to reach populations. The program serves approximately half of all Americans diagnosed with HIV in the United States. In 2018, approximately 87.1 percent of Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program clients who received HIV medical care were virally suppressed, up from 69.5 percent in 2010.
Early in the HIV epidemic, HRSA and the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program led on the frontlines in addressing the critical needs of people with HIV to reduce stigma and train providers to deliver culturally-appropriate HIV care and treatment. HRSA remains committed to addressing health disparities in underserved communities and to ensuring access to and retention in quality, integrated care, and treatment services for all people with HIV.
The program was named for a courageous young man diagnosed with AIDS in 1984. Ryan White fought AIDS-related discrimination in his Indiana community while fighting for his right to attend school and by doing so educated the nation about his disease. Ryan White died only months before Congress passed the legislation in 1990.
The Ryan White CARE Act has been reauthorized four times and has accommodated new and emerging needs of people with HIV as well as addressed disparities in access to care to improve HIV-related health outcomes.
For more information on HRSA's Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, visit www.hab.hrsa.gov.
For more information on the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative, visit https://www.hiv.gov/federal-response/ending-the-hiv-epidemic/overview.