Rockville, Md. – State, city and local health departments collect surveillance information for new diagnoses of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV, but many jurisdictions don’t share the data across departments or don’t do so routinely. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has launched a three-year project to improve the capacity of health departments to share the data and has awarded Abt Associates a $1.8 million contract to evaluate it.
Through the three-year project, health departments will identify people with HIV who are diagnosed with an STI but are out of HIV care. This information can then be used by health departments to identify those who have not reached or maintained viral suppression. People with HIV who take HIV medication daily as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV to their HIV-negative partners.
Improvements in data sharing could serve as an important opportunity to engage people with HIV and link them to and retain them in care. That is particularly important now when the incidence of STIs among people with HIV or at risk for HIV infection is rising.
Under Abt’s contract, we will design, pilot and conduct an evaluation to assess the project’s effectiveness in sharing, linking, dissemination and use of surveillance data, and disseminate the findings to promote replicability of project interventions.
“Using STI data to find people with HIV who aren’t being treated effectively can help a lot of people get care,” says Christopher Spera, Ph.D., vice president of Abt’s Division of Health and Environment. “If the program works, it could be a big step forward in helping curb the spread of HIV.”
About Abt Associates
Abt Associates is an engine for social impact, dedicated to moving people from vulnerability to security. Harnessing the power of data and our experts’ insights, we provide research, consulting and technical services globally in the areas of health, environmental and social policy, technology and international development.http://www.abtassociates.com