Who Was Ryan White?

HIV/AIDS Comprehensive Care Program Contact Information

(608) 263-0946


Related Resources

Ryan White Funding

Ryan White Coverage

Ryan White made headlines as a courageous AIDS activist in the 1980s for challenging discrimination against HIV/AIDS patients, and he became a voice for patients across the country.


Ryan White (photo reprinted with permission from ryanwhite.com)Ryan was born in Indiana in 1971 and suffered from a hereditary medical condition, hemophilia, where his body had a difficult time coagulating, causing severe bleeding even after a minor injury. He was diagnosed with AIDS in 1984 after receiving a blood transfusion.


When trying to return to school after his diagnosis, Ryan faced backlash from the school district, which barred him from attending classes. He gained national attention when Ryan and his family rallied for his right to attend school. He became a poster-child for the HIV/AIDS movement, which he used to stand in solidarity with other HIV-positive men and women by educating the public about the disease.


Ryan White passed away in 1990, but his memory is carried on through the Ryan White Care Act, which was passed by the United States Congress four months after he died. The Ryan White Care Act is the largest federally funded program for people living with HIV/AIDS and continues to this day.


Ryan White was an inspiration and a leader in the fight to end discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS and to provide hope that someday there will be a cure.