The HIV Care Continuum (sometimes referred to as the HIV Care Cascade) provides a model that can be used to monitor progress toward the achievement of objectives outlined in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States (NHAS), released by the White House in July 2010. The Care Continuum captures several stages in the care of people living with HIV:
- HIV diagnosis. It is estimated that almost 1 in 5 people living with HIV in the nation don’t know they have it. The number of people with undiagnosed HIV in Georgia is not known, but suspected to be at least as high. The only way to know for sure if one is infected with HIV is to be tested. Undiagnosed persons run the risk of disease progression, and transmitted the virus to others.
- Linkage to care. Timely entry into medical care is important for treatment of HIV and other medical conditions. One measure for linkage to care is the percent of people who are seen for HIV care within 3 months of diagnosis. We can really only measure linkage for those diagnosed after 2004 when HIV became a reportable disease in Georgia.
- Engaged in care. After initial diagnosis and linkage, some persons never return for further HIV care. Engagement in care is a measure of minimal commitment to continued care with at least 1 more HIV care visit in a year.
- Retained in care. Retention in care more closely reflects the recommended standard of care with at least 2 HIV care visits at least 3 months apart in a year.
- Viral suppression. A viral load <200 copies/ml is the important to prevent progression to AIDS and to eliminate viral transmission. Studies have shown that viral suppression reduces transmission by 96%.
How is Georgia doing?
Of the 46,495 persons living with HIV in Georgia in 2012, fifty-four percent (54%) were minimally engag ed in care, 38% retained in care, and 39% were virally suppressed (VL <200 copies/ml).
Among the 2885 adults and adolescents diagnosed with HIV in 2011 in Georgia, 62% were linked to care within 3 months of diagnosis, 66% were minimally engaged in care, 46% retained in care 45% were virally suppressed.
Georgia's HIV Care Continuum
The Care Continuum is stratified by sex, age, race and transmission category. The slide sets are public domain and may be downloaded for copyright-free use.
For more information on the national Care Continuum and why it is important visit http://aids.gov/federal-resources/policies/care-continuum/
To see the Atlanta Care Continuum by zip code visit our partner website www.HIVContinuum.org
Know your HIV status. Get tested. Visit http://locator.aids.gov/