HIV disease continues to have a devastating impact on the health and well-being of Delawareans. As of May 2008, roughly 5,000 individuals infected with HIV/AIDS have been reported to the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH). Although Delaware is the second smallest state and has a population well under one million, it consistently ranks in the top 10 among the 50 States and the District of Columbia in newly reported AIDS cases annually (per 100,000 population). To combat this, DPH relies on an experienced HIV/AIDS Surveillance staff consisting of eight personnel working in three separate, but integrated programs—Core Surveillance, the Medical Monitoring Project (MMP), and the Enhanced Perinatal Surveillance Program (EPS).
Core Surveillance activities are designed to monitor Delaware’s HIV epidemic through provider reporting, case investigation and follow-up. Through data analysis, periodic reports are published to assist HIV prevention and planning groups in their resource allocation efforts. Surveillance personnel also present HIV/AIDS statistical briefings to various professional groups within Delaware and support ad hoc data requests from the public.
The Medical Monitoring Project is a patient survey designed to learn more about the experiences and needs of people who are receiving HIV care. It is supported by several government agencies and conducted by state and local health departments along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In Delaware, through medical record abstractions and patient interviews, MMP aims to gain a deeper understanding of the health-related experiences and the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS in our State. The anonymous data gathered will be shared with our HIV/AIDS planning, treatment and prevention groups to ensure barriers to care are minimized, support services are available, patient’s unique needs are being met, and treatment protocols are effective.
The Enhanced Perinatal Surveillance Program monitors perinatal transmission rates, as well as the assessment of counseling and testing of pregnant women, prenatal care among HIV-infected women and treatment issues of the women and their infants. A data abstraction form is completed for all babies born to HIV-infected women reported to DPH. The babies are followed at six-month intervals to determine their HIV status and, if infected, follow their course of treatment.
Both MMP and EPS work in concert with core surveillance in its efforts to monitor HIV infection, investigate HIV/AIDS cases, update critical demographic and risk information, and provide valuable data to the Ryan White, HIV Prevention programs and community planning groups for resource allocation and program planning.