The lives of countless people living with HIV and their families were literally transformed 25 years ago when the Ryan White Program passed in Congress. The landmark legislation changed the trajectory for many PLHIV by creating access to lifesaving medications, health care and supportive services. The Ryan White Program works across the nation to provide vital services to an estimated 536,000 people each year.
Yet, even with the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and advances in treatment and prevention, 25 years later the Ryan White Program remains more integral as ever for PLHIV. This need is no more apparent than in the Southern U.S. Many states in the South are not expanding Medicaid, but are also facing high rates of poverty, HIV infection and few options to obtain needed care and lifesaving treatment.
The Ryan White Care Act is a vitally important safety-net in these states for low-income PLHIV, and it must be continued with a call for expansion of Medicaid in every U.S. state.
Do you live in a state that has not expanded Medicaid? Let your legislators know how important Medicaid expansion is to your state.
Today on the birthday of the Ryan White Program, we invite you to read testimony on why the Ryan White Program is a key strategy of the domestic HIV response by visiting the "Ryan White. Real Lives." campaign. This collaborative campaign highlights the real life stories of the personal and public health impact of Ryan White in the South.