HRSA Announces Increase in HIV Viral Suppression Rate in New 2020 Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Client-Level Data Report

Content From: Laura Cheever, MD, ScM, Associate Administrator for the HIV/AIDS Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesPublished: December 08, 20213 min read


Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Served 561,416 clients in 2020

A new report released last week by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) shows that clients receiving Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) medical care were virally suppressed at a record level – 89.4 percent – in 2020. This means that clients receiving medical care through the RWHAP are reaching and maintaining viral suppression at high rates despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This is a critical component of ending the HIV epidemic because people with HIV who take their medication as prescribed and reach and maintain an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting the virus to an HIV-negative partner.

Led by HRSA's HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB), the RWHAP Annual Client-Level Data Report, 2020 is the seventh annual publication of national client-level data from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Services Report (RSR). The RSR is our primary source of annual, client-level data reported by more than 2,000 funded RWHAP grant recipients and subrecipients across the United States.

The publication provides an in-depth look at demographic and socioeconomic factors among clients served, including age, race/ethnicity, transmission category, federal poverty level, health care coverage, and housing status. In addition, retention in care and viral suppression data are presented for the overall RWHAP client population receiving medical care, as well as among key priority populations served by the RWHAP. Together, these data highlight the key role of the RWHAP in providing high-quality care and treatment to more than half a million people with HIV in the U.S. each year and emphasizes the importance of continuing and expanding this work for the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. (EHE) initiative. It is through the EHE initiative that HRSA’s RWHAP has a critical role in the four key strategies that together can end the HIV epidemic in the U.S.: diagnose, treat, prevent, and respond.

In the 2020 RSR data submission, HAB EHE initiative and Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act–funded recipients and service providers also reported client-level data for people with HIV receiving HAB-EHE funded services and RWHAP FY 2020 CARES Act–funded services.

For more than three decades, HRSA's RWHAP has funded grants to cities, counties, states, and local community-based organizations to provide a comprehensive system of HIV primary medical care, essential support services, and medications for low-income people with HIV. The report includes data reported to the RSR for all clients served by RWHAP Parts A, B, C, and D during calendar years 2016 through 2020.

In 2020, more than 561,000 clients received at least one RWHAP-funded service, nearly 99% (554,000) of whom were people with HIV. This means that more than half of people with diagnosed HIV in the United States received services through the RWHAP last year. In addition, the report shows that 89.4 percent of RWHAP clients receiving HIV medical care were virally suppressed in 2020, which is an increase from 69.5 percent in 2010. This exceeds the national viral suppression average of 65.5 percent among all people with diagnosed HIV, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

We would like to acknowledge the important work of RWHAP recipients, subrecipients, and stakeholders to provide HIV care and treatment services and meet the needs of RWHAP clients while continuing to respond to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Your incredible efforts to continue to submit high quality, complete RSR data in a timely manner during this time are truly appreciated.

Please join us for a Special Edition of the “HAB You Heard Webinar: All about the 2020 RWHAP Client-Level Data” on Thursday, December 9, from 2:00 – 3:00 pm ET. All RWHAP recipients and subrecipients, stakeholders, and federal staff are encouraged to participate in the webinar.