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The HIV/AIDS Program: Populations served by the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program


People living with HIV disease are, on average, poorer than the general population, and Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program clients are poorer still. For them, the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program is the payor of last resort because they are uninsured or have inadequate insurance and cannot cover the costs of care on their own, and because no other source of payment for services, public or private, is available.

Most Ryan White clients are from a racial or ethnic minority group. In 2006, more than 70% of clients served by the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program were people of color. In 2006, 66% of clients were male and 33% were female.

   African-Americans    American Indians & Alaska Natives
   Asian-Pacific Islanders    Youth
   Deaf & Hard of Hearing    Substance Abuse
   Hispanics    Women
   Men Who Have Sex with Men    Pediatrics
Despite improvements to reduce health disparities and increase access to HIV prevention, counseling and testing, and treatment services, African-Americans' share of the U.S. HIV/AIDS burden continues to be disproportionate to their representation in the total population.
Asian/Pacific Islander

The term "Asian/Pacific Islander" (A/PI) is used to refer to approximately 50 ethnic subgroups, representing more than 100 languages. A/PIs are concentrated in several parts of the country, particularly the west coast, the New York City metropolitan area, and Hawaii.

The Deaf of Hard of Hearing 

The deaf and hard of hearing exist within a unique and vibrant culture, a fact not always Appreciated by hearing individuals. Many advocates believe that recognition by the hearing public that a deaf culture exists is a crucial first step toward educating the Nation about the needs of the deaf and hard of hearing who are living with HIV.

Hispanics are the largest and fastest-growing U.S. minority group at 45.5 million in 2007. Hispanic populations are served through all parts of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and accounted for 21 percent of all Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program clients in 2006. People who are Hispanic shoulder a highly disproportionate burden of HIV/AIDS in the United States. Many Hispanics face signifi cant barriers to health information, HIV counseling and testing, and care. Poverty, language differences, lack of health insurance, and cultural issues are critical factors.
Men Who Have Sex With Men / Men of Color Who Have Sex With Men
Since the onset of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States, AIDS incidence has been highest among men who have sex with men (MSM). Despite changes in the demographics of the epidemic and the growing proportion of total cases in women, Most new AIDS cases for which male-to-male sexual contact is the HIV transmission category are now among MSM of color, who face extraordinary barriers to HIV counseling and testing and care.
American Indians and Alaska Natives
American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) make up 0.8 percent of the U.S. population and comprise hundreds of tribes and cultures. More than one-half of all AI/ANs live in just 10 States; Arizona, Oklahoma, and California have the largest AI/AN populations. Historically, AI/AN populations have suffered high rates of a range of health problems, reflecting widespread poor access to health information and care.
In the United States, almost all new AIDS cases diagnosed in children under age 13 result from perinatal transmission of HIV. Although new HIV infections among infants have dropped dramatically since the introduction of zidovudine (AZT-based regimens in 1995, perinatal transmission continues to occur, often because HIV-positive pregnant women do not receive appropriate prenatal care and HIV counseling and testing. Transmission most commonly occurs during gestation (in utero), during labor and delivery (intrapartum), and during breastfeeding.
Substance Abuse
The spread of HIV disease in the United States is fueled in part by the use of illicit drugs. Injection drug use (IDU) is directly related to HIV transmission because it may involve the sharing of drug equipment. The use of both injected and noninjected illicit drugs impairs decision making and increases sexual risktaking behavior, which, in turn, increases the risk for acquiring HIV.
Rates of U.S. HIV/AIDS cases in women are slowly beginning to decrease after years of growth, but an extraordinarily high number of cases persist among racial and ethnic minorities. In addition to facing the challenges of living with HIV and adhering to treatment, women living with HIV often are primary caregivers for children and aging parents.
Approximately one-fourth of all HIV infections occur in people age 21 and younger-a segment of the population that is among the most medically underserved. Most HIV-infected youth are asymptomatic, unaware they are infected, and not enrolled in treatment.

Source: 2008 Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Folder w/ Fact Sheets

Additional information on the evolving epidemic, data on client demographics, programs, services, as well as individual stories of Ryan White clients whose lives have been affected by the disease, can be found in the Ryan White Progress Reports.