GUIDE TO USING AND INTERPRETING HIV/AIDS DATA
is the viral infection that leads to the syndrome we call AIDS.
reflects disease progression in persons infected with HIV.
data come from testing:
testing is strictly voluntary.
test results are reported only for “confidential” –
not “anonymous” – testing.
began reporting on HIV in different years, and 16
still do not report.
is reported when a person is diagnosed:
case reporting is mandatory throughout the U.S.
is based on medical diagnosis, so it doesn’t depend on
people choosing to get tested.
Reports infection even when a person is in good
health. HIV infection surveillance tells us more about
what’s happening as a result of current behaviors.
Test results cannot be generalized – data from
confidential test reporting cannot be assumed to represent
those who have not been tested or those who test
compare nationwide, because not all states are reporting.
health strategies put more effort into increasing testing
among demographic groups with higher infection rates.
More reliably represents the occurrence of AIDS
among the demographic group being reported.
Can compare with other parts of the U.S.
A person must
receive medical care before a diagnosis can be made and
the case reported.
old behaviors since infection took place an average
of 10 years before AIDS diagnosis.
Because improvements in medical therapies slow the
progression from HIV to AIDS, the rate of new AIDS cases
can decrease while the rates of new HIV infections may
stay the same or increase.
reviewing or using HIV/AIDS data, be aware of these issues:
this giving the number
a population-based rate?
this concern new
(“incidence”) during a specified time period
(usually a year) or ongoing
(“prevalence,” the number of
people living with HIV or AIDS)?
is involved? Is
it a single year, a trend over years, or is it cumulative?
What is the geographic
data may include everyone, but HIV/AIDS data may be given
that are specific to sub-populations by:
is the information source?
sources of surveillance data:
from County Health Dept. http://browardchd.org/AIDS/Statistics.htm
from Dept. of Health
from the CDC