Ryan White Program celebrates 20-year anniversary

The Ryan White Program, the Midlands of South Carolina’s primary provider of HIV and AIDS treatment and support services, celebrated its 20-year anniversary during a special ceremony on Nov. 7.

Named after Indiana teenager Ryan White who in the 1980s became infected with HIV through a blood transfusion and later advocated for greater HIV and AIDS research and education, the federally-funded Ryan White Program provides critical health services to low-income Americans living with HIV and AIDS.ryan logo

Operating out of the USC School of Medicine’s Department of Internal Medicine, the clinic provides medical care to more than 2,000 HIV/AIDS patients per year living in an eight county area of the Midlands. The services provided include everything from outpatient medical care to medication assistance, treatment education and mental health services.

“In the 20 years the Ryan White Program has operated, HIV and AIDS have gone from an untreatable illness to a disease with an age-adjusted, normal life expectancy,” said Helmut Albrecht, M.D., the Heyward Gibbes Distinguished Professor in Internal Medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the School of Medicine. “Thanks to the care the program provides, people living with HIV and AIDS in the Midlands can lead productive lives despite what used to be a devastating diagnosis.”

The Ryan White Program operated as the Midlands Care Consortium from 1993 to 2011. In 2011, the program merged with the School of Medicine’s Infectious Disease Clinic.

The Ryan White Program works with nearly 20 medical and social service agencies in the Midlands to ensure comprehensive and coordinated care for people living with HIV and AIDS. The partner agencies provide various levels of support to the Ryan White Program in meeting the care needs of HIV and AIDS patients in the region.

“With continued support and funding, the Ryan White Program will remain an effective care option for South Carolinians living with HIV and AIDS,” said Divya Ahuja, M.D., associate professor of clinical internal medicine and medical director of the Immunology Center/Ryan White Program.

November 18, 2013