Monitoring Selected National HIV Prevention and Care Objectives by Using HIV Surveillance Data—United States and 6 Dependent Areas, 2021: Commentary

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collects data to monitor progress toward achieving national goals and the objectives set forth in federal directives [1–4]. This surveillance supplemental report complements the 2021 HIV Surveillance Report [5] and presents the results of focused analyses of National HIV Surveillance System (NHSS) [6] data to measure progress toward achieving HIV prevention and care goals [1–3]. Data in this report are used to inform program planning and accelerate action to reach disproportionately affected populations and achieve national goals outlined in Healthy People 2030, the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (2022–2025), and the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. (EHE) initiative [1–4].

Most data in this report are reported in our interactive tool, NCHHSTP AtlasPlus, that allows users the ability to create customized tables, maps, and charts. Data can be stratified by disease, year, geography, and selected characteristics.

Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic

Data for the year 2020 should be interpreted with caution due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on access to HIV testing, care-related services, and case surveillance activities in state/local jurisdictions. To emphasize the need for caution, tables presenting data for the year 2020 include “COVID-19 pandemic” in the title, and the 2020 column is highlighted in tables that provide multiple years of data. The ongoing impact of the pandemic on HIV testing, diagnoses, and treatment has varied by jurisdiction, with some recovering more slowly than others. In 2021, some jurisdictions’ levels of HIV testing, diagnoses, and treatment remained below pre-COVID-19 levels [7–11]. Increasing testing efforts and innovative strategies to reach people with undiagnosed HIV are needed to offset this diagnosis gap. Assessment of trends in HIV diagnoses, deaths, and prevalence that include the year 2020 should be interpreted with caution.

Report Changes

  • Tables that present data by using the transmission category classification, based on a person’s assigned sex at birth (ASAB), include the definition for male-to-male sexual contact (MMSC), an updated definition for injection drug use (IDU), and MMSC and IDU.
  • The Prevalence-based HIV Care Continuum table and associated data have been reincorporated, as in years prior to 2020 (COVID-19 pandemic).