More than 4,000 HIV care and treatment leaders, Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program grant recipients, subrecipients, stakeholders, people living with HIV, and those on the front lines providing direct care to patients convened today at the Gaylord National Convention Center at the National Harbor in Oxon Hill, MD for the kickoff of the 2018 National Ryan White Conference on HIV Care & Treatment. The theme for the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB) funded and sponsored National Conference is “Catalyzing Success: Advancing Innovation. Leveraging Data. Ending the HIV Epidemic.”
HHS Leaders Open National Conference on Day One
The 2018 National Ryan White Conference opening plenary session featured a panel of federal leaders from across the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) who highlighted the success of HRSA’sRyan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP), the challenges that lie ahead, and the Department’s efforts to end the HIV epidemic.
Dr. Laura Cheever, Associate Administrator for HRSA’s HIV/AIDS Bureau, provided a “first look” at the latest data demonstrating continued improvements in viral suppression, as reported by 2,000 RWHAP recipients and compiled in the 2017 Annual Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Client-Level Data Report released today. Among the key findings:
- In 2017, 85.9 percent of RWHAP clients achieved viral suppression. This is a 16.4 percent increase since 2010, continuing a years long improvement, said Cheever, “and is significantly higher than the rate of 59.8 percent viral suppression among all those diagnosed with HIV in the U.S.”
- The demographics of RWHAP are changing. People are living with HIV longer, and those who comprise a greater proportion of those receiving RWHAP services are 45 and older—around 60 percent or a 10 percent point increased from 2010.
- Disparity gaps have been reduced markedly with across-the-board improvements in viral suppression across states, racial/ethnic populations, gender, and age.
- Despite progress, disparities persist, particularly in southern states.
HRSA Administrator Dr. George Sigounas spoke about the agency’s strategic goals, and said that the RWHAP has transformed what was once a deadly disease to a chronic but manageable condition through a comprehensive system of HIV care. “You are the local, state, and national leaders translating the latest science into practice, providing direct patient services and using data to drive services and deliver HIV care.” He concluded by observing that there are a significant number of people “who are out of care and undiagnosed who need our care and support,” restating HRSA’s commitment to increasing access to HIV services to end the HIV epidemic.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar shared that the “frontlines of the fight against HIV” are where Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program recipients work everyday, and he thanked attendees for their dedication to this challenge. During his presentation, Azar also announced two new chairs for the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) – Carl Schmid and John Wiesman. Carl Schmid is the deputy executive director of the AIDS Institute, and John Wiesman is the Commissioner of Health for Washington State.
Azar told attendees that PACHA will reconvened and will meet in March 2019.
The powerful plenary session concluded with a presentation by Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), who outlined the “scientific basis for the bold assertion that we can end the epidemic, sooner than later.” Fauci outlined the extraordinary advances that have been made in HIV care, and shared that the results in the RWHAP are “better than any program in existence today.”
Looking Ahead to Day Two
Wednesday, December 12, 2018 8:30-10:00 am, Potomac Ballroom
This plenary session will highlight how Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program recipients, jurisdictions, people living with HIV, and subject matter experts use innovation and data to inform resource planning and service delivery system changes in order to address unmet needs and specific populations with health disparities, including those who are not yet fully engaged or re-engaged in HIV care and treatment.
- Heather Hauck, Deputy Associate Administrator, Health Resources and Services Administration, HIV/AIDS Burea.
- Kneeshe Parkinson, Community Health Navigator/Missouri State Lead, Project ARK at Washington University in St. Louis
- Kyle Foreman, Director of Data Science, Institute for Health Metrics & Evaluation, University of Washington
- Tom Williams, Project Manager/Finance, Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Part A, City of Hartford
- Camden Hallmark, Senior Analyst, Houston Health Department
Make plans to visit the Exhibit Hall, located in the Cherry Blossom Ballroom. The Exhibit Hall is open during conference hours, 7:30 am – 5:30 pm.
On the National Ryan White Conference app, tap on the Food Options icon for a list of restaurants in National Harbor, as well as options available during conference hours. To download or browse the app, visit https://crowd.cc/s/1svpy.
All side “A” Poster authors will be available to discuss their posters tomorrow from 3:00 pm-4:00 pm during the dedicated poster hour.
MGM National Harbor Shuttle
The shuttle picks up at MGM National Harbor from 7:00 am and runs until 10:00 am, with service to the conference. The shuttle stop at MGM National Harbor is located in the bus loop near the parking garage, not at the front of the hotel. If you have questions, please call 301-830-2594.
HRSA values your feedback! During the 2018 National Ryan White Conference, attendees are encouraged to visit any of the laptop or iPad kiosks to complete conference evaluations. Evaluations may also be completed on personal devices. Your feedback will make the 2020 National Ryan White Conference on HIV Care & Treatment better than ever.
Social Media Lab
The HIV.gov Social Media Lab is open Wednesday and Thursday 10 am - 4 pm. Drop in for free, technical, one-on-one assistance and get your questions answered about how best to use social media. Location: Exhibit Hall, Federal Village.
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Want to stay up to date on all the 2018 National Ryan White Conference happenings? Follow us on Twitter @HRSAgov.
Want to share your excitement about the 2018 National Ryan White Conference, but don’t know where to start? Here are some sample tweets you can customize. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #RyanWhite2018.
- Great day at the #RyanWhite2018 Conference! Top 3 things I learned today: <fill in the blank>
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