What Is the Ryan White Program?
The Ryan White & Global HIV/AIDS Program provides HIV care and treatment services to more than half a million people a year. People living with HIV or AIDS who are underinsured or uninsured can get the medical care and support they need through the program. It is run by the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.1
Who was Ryan White?
Ryan White of Kokomo, Indiana, was diagnosed with AIDS at age 13 in 1984. A hemophiliac, he acquired the virus from a blood transfusion in the days before the U.S. blood supply was screened for HIV. He was given six months to live and wanted to return to school, but his community refused to admit him.2
Ryan and his mother launched a national campaign to educate the public about HIV/AIDS and to fight discrimination. He died in 1990, living five years longer than his doctors predicted, just one month before his high school graduation. The U.S. Congress passed legislation shortly after his death, establishing the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act. Now, the program is funded each year through Congressional appropriations.2
Services provided by the Ryan White program
A wide variety of medical and support services for people with HIV are funded by the Ryan White program, including:
- Doctor’s visits
- Help paying for life-saving drugs
- Early intervention services
- Help paying for health insurance premiums
- Home-based and community-based services such as home health care or hospice care
- Nutrition support
- Case management
- Adherence support services
- Dental care
- Substance abuse care
- Health education targeted to risk reduction
- Foodbank or home-delivered meals
- Housing support
Not all of these services are available in every state or city. Individual states and cities are given discretion to spend program funds in ways that best fit the needs of their community. To find out which services are available near you, visit the Ryan White Provider app.3,4
Who receives Ryan White funds?
Of the half a million people who get assistance through the Ryan White program, some may receive just one service while many receive multiple types of services. The demographics of those receiving Ryan White services are:
- 70 percent male
- 52 percent between the ages of 40 and 59
- 74 percent people of color
- 49 percent gay or bisexual men
- 63 percent have income at or below the federal poverty level
- 80 percent carry insurance through Medicaid, Medicare, or private insurance4
What other programs are supported by Ryan White?
The Ryan White program also funds education and training programs for health care providers who treat people with HIV. Through a network of eight regional centers and 130 affiliated sites, doctors, nurse practioners, physician assistants, nurses, pharmacists, and dental professionals learn how to diagnose, treat, and encourage people living with HIV. These professionals then go to work in clinics, hospitals, health departments, and other health care facilities to help reduce the rates of HIV transmission and improve the health of people living with HIV.5
Have you ever experienced discrimination due to your HIV status?