HRSA Recognizes National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
Today, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recognizes National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This day is an opportunity to raise awareness about the impact of HIV on youth and young adults and highlight ongoing efforts to provide care, treatment, and support services for youth with HIV.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, youth and young adults aged 13 to 24 accounted for 21 percent of the nearly 37,000 new HIV diagnoses in the United States in 2019. However, youth with HIV are the least likely of any age group to be aware of their HIV status, retained in care, and virally suppressed.
HRSA’s Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) is dedicated to supporting youth and young adults with HIV so they have access to the care, medication, and essential support services they need to stay healthy. In 2021, the RWHAP provided services to nearly 19,300 people with HIV aged 13-24.
We continue to see significant progress among this priority population. In 2021, 82.7 percent of people aged 13 to 24 receiving RWHAP HIV medical care were virally suppressed, which is a significant increase from 46.6 percent in 2010. This means they cannot transmit HIV, and can also live healthier lives. However, work still remains to reach the national RWHAP average of 89.7 percent.
In order to end the HIV epidemic in the U.S., we must continue to engage and retain youth and young adults with HIV to care and treatment. The RWHAP Part F Special Project of National Significance Program has various initiatives that provide innovative, youth-focused interventions, including:
- The Using Evidence-Informed Interventions to Improve Health Outcomes among People Living with HIV (E2i) InitiativeExit Disclaimer’s intervention, called Text Messaging Intervention to Improve Antiretroviral Adherence among HIV-Positive Youth (TXTXT) E2iExit Disclaimer, which sends out personalized, daily, interactive text messages to youth with HIV aged 13 to 24 years to remind them to take their medication as prescribed.
- The Use of Social Media to Improve Engagement, Retention, and Health Outcomes along the HIV Care Continuum InitiativeExit Disclaimer provides replicable social media methods to link youth and young adults in HIV primary care and supportive services.
In honor of National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, we encourage you to learn about additional youth-focused, evidence-informed resources and interventions,Exit Disclaimer including Building Futures: Supporting Youth Living with HIV,Exit Disclaimer and share them with your colleagues and communities. Together, we can help improve HIV-related health outcomes for youth and end the HIV epidemic in the U.S.