The role of this HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, therefore, has heightened importance to not just raise sensitivity to HIV/AIDS but to encourage young people to adopt safer practices, get tested, and--if infected--engage in care.
As the generations pass, it seems that fewer people are aware that the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program was named after Ryan White, a young man who fought AIDS discrimination in the early years. He died 25 years ago, about the time the legislation was enacted.
Youth & Ryan White: Retention, Viral Suppression
The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) has since created a rich history as an important provider of care to young people, 5.1% of RWHAP clients are under age 24 (Table 1b).
RWHAP clients have higher rates of retention in care, and better viral suppression, compared with national data. The same holds true for younger RWHAP clients (ages 13-24 years). However, RWHAP clients 13-24 do not fare as well as adult RWHAP clients. Their retention in care rate is lower (76.3%) than the national RWHAP average (80.6%) and viral suppression was much lower (68.6%) than the RWHAP average (83.4%).
Social Media and Youth Living with HIVHRSA's Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) has explored innovations in HIV care since 1991, targeting various issues and populations with a special focus on youth. A current SPNS Initiative: Use of Social Media to Improve Engagement, Retention, and Health Outcomes along the HIV Care Continuum, 2015-2019, is investigating social media interventions that can engage HIV-positive youth who are not in care to engage in such services.
Learn more about the SPNS Social Media initiative and its Evaluation and Technical Assistance Center.