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Introducing the HRSA HIV/AIDS Bureau Special Collection

By: Laura Cheever, MD, ScM, Associate Administrator, HIV/AIDS Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has launched a new PLOS Special Collection highlighting Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program’s (RWHAP) innovative approaches for data utilization and engagement of people with HIV who are not in care and not virally suppressed, critical components of the Administration’s “Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America” initiative.  The collection addresses how HRSA’s RWHAP uses data to facilitate care at state and local levels; clinical, population, and geographic differences among RWHAP clients; implementation science initiatives; healthcare workforce; healthcare systems differences in outcomes; and other key strategies such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

“For three decades, HRSA’s Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program has played a critical role in the United States’ response to ending the HIV epidemic,” said HRSA Administrator Tom Engels. “More than half a million people – representing more than half of people with diagnosed HIV in the U.S. – receive services through the RWHAP annually. In 2018, approximately 87 percent of RWHAP patients receiving medical care were virally suppressed, exceeding the national average of approximately 65 percent.”

This Special Collection is an important resource informing programs about successful approaches to HIV care and highlights the RWHAP’s specialized experience. The collection addresses issues such as, challenges of sustainability, analysis of cost effectiveness, and the scalability of interventions. The authors describe HRSA’s collaborative efforts both internally with various operating division members within HHS and externally with partners from many grant recipients across the country. These collaborative efforts allow for data sharing and obtaining perspectives that provide additional insights into and solutions for the issues, as well as novel and innovative approaches to HIV care and treatment for advancing the national effort to end the HIV epidemic.

HRSA implements the RWHAP, which provides a comprehensive system of HIV primary medical care, medication, and essential support services for low-income people with HIV. First authorized in 1990, the RWHAP funds grants to states, cities/counties, and local community-based organizations to provide HIV care and treatment services, improve health outcomes, and reduce HIV transmission among hard-to-reach populations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 40,000 people receive an HIV diagnosis each year in the United States, and without intervention, an additional 400,000 Americans will be newly diagnosed over 10 years, despite the availability of effective HIV prevention tools. HRSA’s Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program plays an important role in the Administration’s Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America initiative, which aims to reduce the number of new HIV infections in the United States by 90 percent by 2030.

To read the PLOS Special Collection, visit https://collections.plos.org/hrsa-hab

For more information about HRSA’s Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, visit www.hab.hrsa.gov.

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