December 22, 2021
RHWAP Providers Encouraged to Leverage Funds to Support Gender-Affirming Services
Last week, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) issued a letter to participants of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) regarding the prioritization of transgender people with HIV. The letter, which can be viewed here, encourages service providers to “leverage the existing RWHAP infrastructure to provide access to gender-affirming care and treatment services to trans and gender-nonconforming individuals with HIV.” Recognizing that culturally affirming healthcare and social services are key components of improving the lives of transgender people with HIV and eliminating health disparities, HRSA will continue to support interventions that focus on the specific needs of this community. HRSA and the Biden Administration recognize that the transgender community faces unique barriers in HIV care, and this letter directs providers to consider those challenges and leverage all necessary resources to confront and then mitigate them. Currently, approximately 11,600 of the more than half a million people served by the RWHAP identify as transgender. Over 84 percent of transgender clients receiving RWHAP HIV medical care were virally suppressed, which is higher than the national non-RHWAP average but lower than the RWHAP average of those who identify as cisgender (89.4%). HRSA rightfully recognizes that more needs to be done to ensure that transgender persons within the program achieve viral suppression and receive the whole person care they require.
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