Ryan White was diagnosed with AIDS in 1984 at age 13. He and his mother Jeanne White Ginder fought for his right to attend school, gaining international attention as a voice of reason about HIV/AIDS. Ryan White and his mom fought AIDS-related discrimination and helped educate the Nation about his disease. At the age of 18, Ryan White died on April 8, 1990, just months before Congress passed the AIDS bill that bears his name – the Ryan White CARE (Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency) Act. The legislation has been reauthorized four times since – in 1996, 2000, 2006, and 2009 – and is now called the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program.
The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program is the largest Federal program focused exclusively on HIV/AIDS care. The program is for individuals living with HIV/AIDS who have no health insurance (public or private), have insufficient health care coverage, or lack financial resources to get the care they need for their HIV disease. As such, the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program fills gaps in care not covered by other funding sources.
The legislation is called the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-87, October 30, 2009).
The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program works with cities, states, and local community-based organizations to provide services to an estimated 536,000 people each year who do not have sufficient health care coverage or financial resources to cope with HIV disease. The majority of Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program funds support primary medical care and essential support services.
The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, first authorized in 1990, is funded at $2.32 billion in fiscal year 2014. The Program is administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB).
Locally, the Program is administered by Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners (Part A) and the Florida Department of Health- Pinellas County (Part B).
The Ryan White CARE Act mandated the establishment of a planning council that would guide and assist the local government in the decision making processes involved in the disbursement of the federal funds. The planning council in this area is called the West Central Florida Ryan White Care Council. Activities of the Care Council include, but are not limited to, conducting a needs assessment, establishing priorities for the allocation of funds, and developing a comprehensive plan for the organization and delivery of health services. Care Council staff can be contacted directly at 727-217-7070.
The West Central Florida Ryan White Care Council provides community guidance and input to the Ryan White Part A Program and the Ryan White Part B Program. These two Parts serve our local area by providing essential services to People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA).
Part A covers the designated Eligible Metropolitan Area of Hillsborough, Hernando, Pinellas, and Pasco Counties. Part A is coordinated by the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners (aka the Grantee) through the Hillsborough County Health Care Services Department.
Part B covers the designated Total Service Area of Hardee, Highlands, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, and Polk Counties. Part B is coordinated by the Florida Department of Health- Pinellas County (aka the Lead Agency).