Georgia's HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Section
The HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Section (HAES) at the Georgia Department of Public Health, is responsible for managing the state HIV/AIDS surveillance system and conducting HIV/AIDS surveillance, and other HIV-related epidemiologic activities that provide more in depth information on populations at risk for HIV and samples of persons.
The data collected are used to describe and monitor the epidemic in Georgia, to guide data-driven planning and resource allocation, as well as to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of prevention programs and care treatment services.
The state health department conducts these activities with expertise and legal authority while protecting the confidentiality of existing public health disease surveillance and reporting systems.
The HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Section is authorized under Georgia Surveillance Law (O.C.G.A. §31-12-2) to conduct notifiable disease surveillance of HIV and AIDS. Public health surveillance activities are not subject to HIPPA restrictions.
Georgia has a dual reporting system that legally requires HIV/AIDS reporting by both health care providers and laboratories (O.C.G.A. §31-12-2(b)). All health care providers diagnosing and/or providing care to a patient with HIV have the obligation to report them. See Case Reporting for information on how to report.
Case report forms must be completed within seven (7) days of:
- diagnosing a patient with for the first time with HIV and/or AIDS
- assuming care of an HIV positive patient who is new to the provider, regardless of whether the patient has previously received care elsewhere.
All laboratories certified and licensed by the State of Georgia are required to report laboratory test results indicative of HIV infection, such as:
- positive antigen/antibody tests
- type differentiating tests
- viral load tests (detectable and undetectable)
- CD4 counts
- viral nucleotide sequence results.
Security and Confidentiality
All of the information collected by the HIV Epidemiology Section is held strictly confidential. The Section is physically located in a separately locked area of an access-controlled building. Only authorized State HIV Epidemiology staff can enter the area where the information is kept. The paper reports are stored in locked cabinets, and electronic data are stored on a virtual privacy network that requires double key encryption for access. HIV Epidemiology staff abide by strict federal guidelines that prohibit intentional disclosure of HIV/AIDS data and limit risk of accidental disclosure of confidential data. Furthermore, Georgia law prohibits disclosure of identifiable information; disclosure can result in criminal prosecution charges.
- To monitor the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Georgia over time.
- To monitor behaviors associated with HIV transmission.
- To collect, analyze, interpret, and disseminate data on HIV/AIDS in a confidential and secure manner.
- To build HIV/AIDS epidemiology capacity in Georgia.
- To provide HIV/AIDS epidemiologic support for planning and evaluation of HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment programs.
The main activities conducted by the HIV Epidemiology Section are:
Case Surveillance involves ongoing collection of demographic information, HIV care-related tests, and ascertainment of vital status through matches with vital registry data. Data are collected both for adults and children newly diagnosed with HIV and for persons living with HIV.
The HIV Care Continuum is a method of estimating the proportion of persons living with HIV in a given area who are actively receiving HIV care and who are virally suppressed based on viral load tests and CD4 counts reported by laboratories.
Perinatal Exposure Surveillance collects information of HIV-positive women who give birth and their infants in order to ascertain the extent to which guidelines for prevention of perinatal transmissions are implemented, and to identify gaps accounting for ongoing transmission.
The Georgia Medical Monitoring Project (MMP) is a surveillance system designed to learn more about the experiences and needs of people who are living with HIV. Interview and chart abstractions are conducted for a random sample of persons living with HIV.
The Georgia HIV Behavioral Surveillance (NHBS) is a surveillance system designed to learn more about populations at risk for HIV. Surveys are conducted in rotating, annual cycles in three different populations at increased risk for HIV: Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men; Persons who inject drugs; and Heterosexuals at increased risk for HIV infection.
To request data, please visit http://dph.georgia.gov/phip-data-request to create a PHIP data request account and login.
Georgia Department of Public Health, Epi Section
P.O. Box 2107
Atlanta, GA 30301
Please Do NOT Write HIV or AIDS on Envelope
Page last updated 02/19/2020