Cross-posted from TARGET Center
Twenty-two percent of new HIV cases in 2015 in the United States occurred among young people (ages 13-24), according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These new infections occurred overwhelmingly among gay/bisexual men, particularly African Americans. However, new infections among young gay/bisexual men declined 18% between 2008 and 2014. About half of HIV-infected youth aged 18-24 in the United States are thought to be undiagnosed and thus not linked to care, which is the highest rate of undiagnosed HIV among all age groups. This year on April 10, National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day will be observed as part of ongoing efforts to increase sensitivity about HIV/AIDS and encourage young people to adopt safer sex and lifestyle practices, get tested and, if infected, engage in care.
The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) has created a rich history as an important provider of care to young people like Ryan; 4.6% of RWHAP clients are under age 24 according to HRSA's 2016 Ryan White Client-Level Data Report.
Young RWHAP Clients and Viral Suppression
The proportion of RWHAP clients who achieved viral suppression has increased steadily from 2010 to 2016, from 69.5% in 2010 to 84.9% in 2016. However, RWHAP clients aged 13-24 do not fare as well, with only 71.1% in this age group achieving viral suppression, according to 2016 HRSA data.
TA and Training Projects
Below is a summary of some HRSA-funded projects that include a focus on populations hit hardest by HIV, including youth.
Clinical Quality Management
The end+disparities ECHO Collaborative is a HRSA-supported national improvement initiative to measurably increase viral suppression rates for four disproportionately affected subpopulations of people living with HIV among Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program recipients/subrecipients. The selected HIV subpopulations are African American Women and Latinas, MSM of Color, Transgender People, and Youth. Learn more in the ECHO Collaborative flyer (PDF, 880 KB)and join one of the kick-off sessions in March-April 2018.
In It Together, a National Health Literacy Project for Black MSM, is HRSA-supported project designed to increase health professionals’ understanding and use of health literacy to improve engagement and retention in HIV care and treatment.
Engaging Black MSM in Care
HRSA has supported numerous initiatives over the decades to enhance care delivery for hard-hit populations, including young African American gay/bisexual men. Among these initiatives is the Center for Engaging Black MSM Across the Care Continuum (CEBACC). Two offshoots of CEBAAC are described as follows:
The His Health: Engaging Black MSM in HIV Care project offers a compendium of care models, training modules on PrEP and other topics, and resources for enhanced linkage, retention, and engagement strategies targeting Black MSM. The initiative targets providers and offers continuing medical education (CME) and continuing nursing unit (CNU) credits for clinicians to increase their capacity to accelerate health care service delivery to Black MSM.
The Well Versed program is a conversation-starting resource for health care providers and Black MSM. This consumer-oriented website provides information about how to get the most out of health care by being active and informed.
Research: Social Media and Youth Living with HIV
HRSA'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 -- is investigating social media interventions that can engage HIV-positive youth who are not in care to engage in such services.