A. Why HIV/AIDS case reporting is critical
Accurate and complete reporting of HIV/AIDS cases to state health departments is critical to ensuring that surveillance figures capture the true burden of infection in local jurisdictions and nationally. Accurate surveillance numbers are vital to program planning and funding allocation decisions at the state, local, and federal levels. Since data on reported HIV and AIDS cases are used in federal funding formulas, underreporting and incomplete case reports directly impact accurate funding allocation, and, therefore, the ability of states to maximize federal funding opportunities for local-level HIV prevention and care activities.
Correctional facilities can play a vital role in contributing to both state and national HIV
and AIDS surveillance activities because
these facilities provide HIV testing to high-risk persons who may not have accessed these services in the community.
B. HIV/AIDS case reporting requirements
Correctional facilities are required to follow all applicable state and local laws and regulations related to reporting of persons testing positive for HIV infection and individuals diagnosed with AIDS. Contact your state or local health departments HIV/AIDS surveillance section for your reporting requirements.
C. Initiating HIV/AIDS case reporting
State or county health department personnel can assist correctional medical staff with understanding the significance of case reporting and should also have the capacity to conduct training on completing the appropriate case report forms. Opportunities for education and training of correctional medical staff can be facilitated in various forums including continuing education programs, in-services, and on-site programs. State or county public health officials may be able to assist correctional staff with the case reporting process.
Educational materials and training programs sponsored by state or county public health officials can help providers with completing
case report forms accurately by providing
step-by-step instructions, definitions of key terms, and by explaining specific information to include in different sections of the report form. It is critical that case report forms be completed accurately and that they include as much information as possible to enable state and local HIV/AIDS surveillance programs to capture trends in HIV transmission and to target prevention and care funds accordingly. Public health officials will likely stress the critical nature of receiving as much information as possible on the case report form since missing data can potentially result in an individual not
being included as a case in an HIV/AIDS reporting system.
Possible strategies to increase case reporting:
- Designate a medical staff person responsible for HIV/AIDS case reporting. This allows for accountability and facilitates communication with public health authorities on HIV/AIDS surveillance issues.
- Select someone who is comfortable discussing risk behavior to obtain accurate risk histories from inmates. Notify the health department of
HIV-infected inmates released from custody to assist with notification of HIV test results, counseling, and referrals.
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