Ryan White Care Act Fact Sheet


National Alliance to End Homelessness

Fact Sheets | August 15, 2006

Files: PDF | 86 KB | 2 pages


Ryan White Care Act
Updated November 2005

The Ryan White CARE Act was created in 1991 to provide people suffering from HIV/AIDS and their families with services such as, outpatient health care, case management, home health care, housing, transportation and nutrition. The Ryan White CARE Act was established in honor of Ryan White, a teenager who passed away in 1990 from complications of AIDS. Since the creation of the Ryan White CARE Act in 1991, 571,000 people annually suffering from HIV/AIDS receive services.

The AIDS epidemic in the United States continues to increase each year. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “the total number of HIV-infected persons in the United Sates is estimated to be between 1,039,000 and 1,185,000, and approximately 43,000 are infected each year and over 524,060 Americans have died of AIDS.” This particular legislation has allocated more money to HIV/AIDS in the United States than any other federally mandated program over the past 15 years. With the growing need for services, programs funded by the Ryan White CARE Act are essential to the survival of Americans living with HIV/AIDS.

The Ryan White CARE Act is administrated through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), a subset of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). States are awarded grants from the federal government and distribute funds to localities/municipalities based on HIV/AIDS case rates. The total budget for the Ryan White CARE Act from 1991-2005 has been $17 billion with annual increases. From 1985-1990 there was limited funding to people living with HIV/AIDS, but after the Ryan White CARE Act was implemented, several programs were created and people living with HIV/AIDS had greater access to resources. Program funding is streamed lined through six federal programs: Title I (Emergency Relief), Title II (HIV Care), Title III (Early Intervention), Title IV (Woman, Infants, Children and Youth), and AIDS Education and Training, and Dental Reimbursement programs.


Ryan White CARE funds are also available to people using Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA). The HOPWA program was created in 1992 and was established by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to ensure quality housing for people living with HIV/AIDS. The program allocates grants to local, state and non-profit organizations to create special projects to house low-income people living with HIV/AIDS. Since the creation of the HOPWA program over $2.3 billion has been distributed across the country to create projects and programs for HOPWA participants. Even with the success of the HOPWA program, the resources allocated are not adequate enough to meet the growing housing need of people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States. Ryan White CARE Act funds can be used as additional funding for HOPWA and other programs that assist people living with HIV/AIDS. Coordination among programs is vital, because 40 percent of people utilizing the Ryan White CARE Act are uninsured and can benefit substantially from using both federally mandated programs and other programs that assist with housing.


Because of the immeasurable success of The Ryan White CARE Act over the past 15 years, Congress has reauthorized the program twice since its inception in 1991. The program was reauthorized in 1996 and again in 2000. The reauthorization process allows Congress the opportunity to change how the Ryan White CARE Act programs operate. Advocates also use the process to recommend changes to help providers deliver services and improve outcomes for clients. The next Ryan White CARE Act was set to be completed by September 30, 2005, but Congress was not able to reach that deadline and has extended program funding and plans to pass authorizing legislation in the next fiscal year.