U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

What We Do

The Department of Health and Human Services is the United States government's principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves.

The Department includes more than 300 programs, covering a wide spectrum of activities. Some highlights include:

  • Medical and social science research
  • Preventing outbreak of infectious disease, including immunization services
  • Assuring food and drug safety
  • Medicare (health insurance for elderly and disabled Americans) and Medicaid (health insurance for low-income people)
  • Financial assistance for low-income families
  • Child support enforcement
  • Improving maternal and infant health
  • Head Start (pre-school education and services)
  • Preventing child abuse and domestic violence
  • Substance abuse treatment and prevention
  • Services for older Americans, including home-delivered meals
  • Comprehensive health services delivery for American Indians and Alaska Natives

HHS is the largest grant-making agency in the federal government, providing some 60,000 grants per year. HHS' Medicare program is the nation's largest health insuror, handling more than 900 million claims per year.

HHS works closely with state, local and tribal governments, and many HHS-funded services are provided at the local level by state, county or tribal agencies, or through private sector grantees. The Department's programs are administered by 11 HHS operating divisions. In addition to the services they deliver, the HHS programs provide for equitable treatment of beneficiaries nationwide, and they enable the collection of national health and other data.

HHS Budget, FY 2000-- $395 billion
HHS employees -- 61,654

Leadership is provided by the Office of the Secretary, and administrative support is provided by the Program Support Center, a self-supporting operating division of HHS. The Department's Headquarters is in the Hubert H. Humphrey Building, 200 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, D.C., 20201. HHS has a long history.

Operating Divisions

Public Health Service Operating Divisions

National Institutes of Health
Food and Drug Administration
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Human Services Operating Divisions

Health Care Financing Administration
Social Security Administration

Categories Covered:Adverse Events, Comorbidities, and HIV, Substance Use and Harm Reduction for HIV, Mental Health, HIV-Related Policy Issues, History of HIV/AIDS, HIV Stigma and Discrimination, Physical Health Issues, Women, African-Americans, Other Populations, Latinx People, HIV/AIDS Statistics, HIV Prevention and Transmission, Managing Long-Term HIV Survivors, Meeting the Costs of HIV Care, Pregnancy, Childbirth, and HIV, Living Well With HIV, HIV Policy and Advocacy, Vaccines and Microbicides for HIV

Latest by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

New State-Level Maps from HepVu Show Impact of Hepatitis C Epidemic Across the U.S.

The data also reveals an estimated 2.3 million people living with HCV infection in the U.S. between 2013 and 2016, with a high burden in the West and in some Appalachian states.

By Corinna Dan, R.N., M.P.H. for U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

New Professional Resources for Providers to Address HIV/HCV Coinfection

Several new HIV/HCV coinfection resources for the HIV workforce were recently released by partners of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Here's the department's quick roundup.

By Corinna Dan, R.N., M.P.H. for U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Updated National Viral Hepatitis Action Plan 2017-2020 Released

Reflecting recent trends in viral hepatitis infections and deaths, as well as new and improved strategies for prevention, care and treatment, the new Action Plan is the roadmap for addressing viral hepatitis in the U.S.

By Richard Wolitski, Ph.D. and Corinna Dan, R.N., M.P.H. for U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

U.S. Health Dept. Announces $80 Million in Emergency Funds to Eliminate ADAP Waiting Lists, Expand Domestic HIV Care

U.S. health secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced a new influx of funding for HIV care access inside the U.S. -- including $69 million in ADAP funds that the health department expects will eliminate all current waiting lists.

By U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Secretary Sebelius Announces Members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS

Washington, D.C. -- Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today the appointment of 24 new members to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA). The PACHA's chair, Dr. Helene Gayle, was appointed in August 2009. T...

By U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

HHS to Award $1.79 Billion in Ryan White Funds

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced the release of $1.79 billion to ensure that people living with HIV/AIDS continue to have access to life-saving health care and medications. The grants are funded through the Ryan ...

By U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Number of HIV-Infected U.S. Infants Down Dramatically, but Less So Among Minorities

The number of U.S. children born with HIV/AIDS has declined markedly since the mid-1990s in all demographic groups, according to the latest edition of HRSA's Women's Health USA.

From 1994 to 2005, the number of non-Hispanic black infants born with H...

By U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

HIV in Pregnancy

This page is from the comprehensive Women's Health USA 2007 Databook (PDF)

In 2005, 111 infants tested positive for HIV after being born to HIV-infected mothers (126,964 females over age 13 were living with HIV/AIDS in that year). The number of infa...

By U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

People With Medicare and HIV/AIDS

If you have Medicare and have HIV/AIDS, you need to know

Starting January 1, 2006, Medicare prescription drug coverage becomes available to everyone with Medicare.

If you have both Medicaid and Medicare, then Medicare will help pay for your prescri...

By U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

HIV, AIDS and Older People

Grace was dating again. George, a close family friend she had known for a long time, was starting to stay overnight more and more often. Because she was past childbearing age, Grace didn't think about using condoms. And because she had known George f...

By U.S. Department of Health and Human Services