AHEAD: Tracking Linkage to HIV Medical Care Data to End the HIV Epidemic

Content From: Harold J. Phillips, MRP, Director, Office of National AIDS Policy, The White House Published: November 13, 20202 min read

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America’s HIV Epidemic Dashboard (AHEAD) is an online data visualization tool that tracks progress toward achieving the goals of the Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) initiative using six indicators:

  • HIV Incidence
  • Knowledge of HIV Status
  • HIV Diagnoses
  • Linkage to HIV Medical Care
  • Viral Suppression
  • PrEP Coverage

Data is provided for the 57 jurisdictions that are prioritized in phase I of EHE and the states in which EHE counties are located. 

Linkage to HIV medical care, one of the six indicators, is the percentage of people with HIV diagnosed in a given year who have received medical care for their HIV infection within one month of diagnosis. By tracking this information, jurisdictions are better able to identify gaps and successes, prioritize resources, and deploy tailored public health interventions to increase the percentage of people with HIV who receive this timely care.

Linkage to care data on AHEAD is updated quarterly to assess progress during the course of the year.

Linkage to HIV Medical Care: An Essential Step in Ending the HIV Epidemic

HIV treatment improves the health, quality of life, and life expectancy of people with HIV.  Research has shown that people with HIV who take antiretroviral therapy (ART) as prescribed and stay virally suppressed can live long, healthy lives and have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV.

But ART is effective only if a person with HIV adheres to the treatment regimen. Linking people with HIV to medical care and support services shortly after diagnosis so they can start ART as soon as possible is crucial to maximizing the health benefits of HIV treatment. To end the HIV epidemic, we need a variety of strategies to support rapid start of HIV treatment. This includes Rapid ART interventions that initiate treatment on the first clinic visit, often the same day as the HIV diagnosis.

Explore AHEAD to learn about all six EHE indicators, and visit our earlier post on the update of EHE HIV Diagnosis indicator data.

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