Ending the HIV Epidemic with Data: Why AHEAD Data Matters

Content From: Oskian Kouzouian, Deputy Director HIV.gov and Project Lead, AHEAD Dashboard, Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesPublished: June 22, 20212 min read


Why AHEAD Data Matters

Accessible, timely, and reliable data are critical for those working to address the HIV epidemic in the U.S. The data can be used in multiple ways to assist community stakeholders with program planning, as a resource to monitor progress when comparing to goals, and as a tool to identify progress among comparable counties.

The Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. (EHE) initiative is grounded in data. Data tells us that 1.2 million Americans are living with HIV and more than half of all new HIV diagnoses in 2016 and 2017 were concentrated in a limited number of areas. Consequently, the EHE initiative identified 48 counties, Washington, DC, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, where more than 50% of new HIV diagnoses occurred in 2016 and 2017, and an additional 7 states with a substantial number of HIV diagnoses in rural areas that would benefit the most from an infusion of public health resources to end the epidemic.

America’s HIV Epidemic Analysis Dashboard (AHEAD) takes the next step with HIV data by focusing on six HIV indicators to monitor progress towards reaching the goals of the EHE initiative. The data is formatted in legible graphs and charts to inform additional types of analyses, and ultimately action, at both national and local levels.

The Dashboard allows stakeholders to view national data for multiple demographics including age, race/ethnicity, gender, sex at birth, in addition to mode of HIV transmission variables. Analyses using these data can help stakeholders:

  • Develop and implement culturally competent interventions for identified groups and emerging populations at the national level that are at higher risk for HIV transmission;
  • Identify, address, and reduce HIV-related racial and ethnic inequities; and
  • Assess the relationships between HIV risk behaviors and health-related outcomes.

AHEAD data can be further used at the state and county-levels. AHEAD data complements jurisdiction-level data on HIV funding and services, in addition to allowing public health departments and community-based providers and planners to:

  • Compare EHE indicator data across different communities and
  • Measure and evaluate the impact and make needed adjustments to offered HIV services/interventions.

To see the AHEAD data for your community, explore the Data page.