HRSA Recognizes National HIV Testing Day

Content From: Laura Cheever MD, ScM, Associate Administrator, HIV/AIDS Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and James Macrae MA, MPP, Associate Administrator, Bureau of Primary Health Care, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesPublished: June 27, 20173 min read

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The 2017 federal HIV Testing Day theme is “Test Your Way. Do It Today.,” which emphasizes the importance of HIV testing and diagnosis for prevention and treatment of HIV.  Routine HIV testing is a central component of primary care HIV integration.  U.S. Preventive Services Task ForceExit Disclaimer recommends screening for HIV infection for adolescents and adults aged 15 to 65 years, regardless of risk.  

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) funds programs and providers who play a critical role in finding, testing, and providing primary medical care and treatment for people living with HIV (PLWH). On June 27, HRSA joins the nation in commemorating National HIV Testing Day.

Bureau of Primary Health Care

HRSA’s Bureau of Primary Health Care funds and supports the Health Center Program with approximately 1,400 health center grantees and over 10,000 sites.  The Health Center Program serves over 24 million people, focusing on the care of underserved and vulnerable populations.  HIV testing is available at most health centers, and many also offer HIV care services. Along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Bureau of Primary Health Care funds 22 health centers in four states for its initiative called Partnerships for Care (P4C).  The goal of P4C is to expand HIV service delivery in communities disproportionately impacted by HIV, including racial/ethnic minorities. Through P4C, the HRSA-funded health centers have built partnerships with four CDC-funded state health departments to expand HIV prevention and care services in Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York.

The 22 P4C health centers have integrated routine HIV testing for all patients aged 15 to 65 years across primary care settings, including medical, dental, and behavioral health visits. P4C health centers have trained HIV care teams and health center staff to deliver culturally competent HIV testing using the latest HIV testing technologies and to implement strategies to increase testing rates. These strategies include:

  • pre-visit planning to identify patients who need an HIV test prior to their visit

  • integrating HIV testing into diagnostic and/or annual labs

  • adopting opt-out testing policies

HIV/AIDS Bureau

HRSA’s HIV/AIDS Bureau provides a dynamic array of services through the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) to facilitate and maximize positive health outcomes for people living with diagnosed HIV infection (PLWH) in the U.S.  RWHAP provides a comprehensive system of HIV primary medical care, essential support services, and medication for low-income people living with HIV who are uninsured and underserved. More than half of people living with diagnosed HIV in the United States – more than half a million people – receive services through RWHAP each year.

RWHAP continues to be a vital resource for meeting the national goals for HIV prevention and care and treatment. What was once a deadly disease is now a manageable, chronic condition, if there is access to high-quality health care, support, and appropriate medical treatment. In 2015, 83.4% of Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program clients were virally suppressed, exceeding the national average of 55%.

RWHAP funds grants to states, cities/counties, and local community-based organizations to provide care and treatment services to people living with HIV to improve health outcomes and reduce HIV transmission among hard to reach populations.

Find Care and Get Tested

This Testing Day, HRSA encourages those at risk to get tested for HIV. If your test is positive, the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and the Health Center Program can help you get the care and treatment you need and find a provider. For more information about the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, visit www.hab.hrsa.gov. For more information about the health center program and P4C, visit www.bphc.hrsa.gov.