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HIV Surveillance Program Overview

HIV disease continues to have a serious impact on the health and well-being of Delawareans. As of January 2021, there are roughly 3,600 individuals living with HIV in Delaware. Although Delaware is the second smallest state and has a population well under one million, it consistently ranks in the top 15 among the 50 States and the District of Columbia in newly reported HIV cases annually (per 100,000 population). To combat this, DPH relies on an experienced HIV Surveillance staff consisting of eight personnel working in two separate, but integrated programs—HIV Surveillance and the Medical Monitoring Project (MMP).

HIV 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 statistical briefings to various professional groups within Delaware and support ad hoc data requests from the public.

The Surveillance team carries out several important activities:

  1. Pediatric and adult HIV case Surveillance: This activity is designed to systematically collect, analyze, interpret, and disseminate HIV data to characterize trends in HIV infection, detect active HIV transmission, implement public health interventions, and evaluate public health response.
  2. Perinatal Exposure Reporting: This activity consists of conducting case surveillance for women with diagnosed HIV infection and their infants.  The program also coordinates with HIV prevention to promote routine, perinatal HIV testing of all pregnant women per CDC recommendations.
  3. HIV cluster detection and reaction: This activity is designed to develop, maintain, and implement a plan to respond to HIV transmission clusters and outbreaks.  The measurable outcomes are as follows:
    1. Improved early identification and investigation of HIV transmission clusters and outbreaks.
    2. Improved response to HIV transmission clusters and outbreaks.
    3. Improved planning and policies to respond to and contain HIV outbreaks.

The Medical Monitoring Project is a patient survey designed to learn more about the experiences and needs of people who are living with HIV in Delaware. 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.

MMP works in concert with HIV surveillance in its efforts to monitor HIV infection, investigate HIV 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.