The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Commemorates National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
Tomorrow, February 7, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) commemorates National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This day is a time to reflect on the progress and ongoing challenges in the fight against HIV within Black communities. This year's theme, "Engage, Educate, Empower: Uniting to End HIV/AIDS in Black Communities" urges us to actively participate in building a future with equitable access to HIV services and free from the barriers of HIV stigma.
Black people continue to face social and structural barriers, including racism, discrimination, homophobia, HIV stigma, medical mistrust, and limited access to high-quality health care, which prevent them from seeking care and treatment. I am proud that HRSA’s Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) is working to address these barriers and encourage the development of safe and supportive health services for people with HIV. The numbers tell a powerful story. In 2022:
- More than 566,000 people received services through the program, and nearly half (44.5%) were Black/African American clients.
- 87.1% of our Black/African American program clients receiving medical care were virally suppressed, which means we continue to close the disparity gap from 63.3% virally suppressed in 2010.
This is great progress, but we know there is still more we can do. Several of our initiatives are building a future where Black communities can thrive, free from HIV stigma, including:
- HRSA’s CHANGE Initiative which builds partnerships with communities to amplify awareness, combat stigma, and increase access to resources.
- Several of our Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Part F Special Projects of National Significance initiatives focus on developing and disseminating tools and strategies to help improve outcomes for people with HIV.
- Our Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Best Practices CompilationExit Disclaimer also highlights other strategies that help improve HIV care.
These important efforts are the result of those on the ground working tirelessly to support people with HIV and help them live long, healthy lives. It is the peer navigators, community health workers, case managers, nurses, social workers, physicians, and many more that help make a difference in the communities you serve. However, Black communities continue to face disproportionate HIV rates, highlighting the need for continued engagement, education, and empowerment.
This National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day:
- Engage with your community. Talk openly about HIV, dispel myths and misconceptions, and encourage testing and prevention measures.
- Educate yourself and others. Stay informed about HIV care, treatment, and prevention options, and support resources. Share this knowledge with your network.
- Empower individuals and communities. Take action to counter stigma and discrimination.
Thank you for your continued efforts to support the care and treatment needs of over half a million people with HIV across the country.