Thursday, November 7, 2013

Colorado's HIV Care Continuum

By Elaine Daniloff

The HIV care continuum—also known as the HIV treatment cascade— visually shows the percentage of people living with HIV/AIDS at each stage of HIV care at a single point in time.  The HIV care continuum walks us from the percent of people who are diagnosed with HIV or AIDS, to the percent who are linked to care, then to the percent who have stayed in care, and finally the percent of people whose level of HIV is undetectable by routine blood tests.

The HIV care continuum has been adapted for use at the local level. Local analysis enables us to paint the Colorado picture of where people living with HIV fall along the HIV care continuum. Colorado’s HIV Care Continuum is shown below.

For comparison, the HIV Care Continuum for the U.S. is shown above. Along the visual HIV continuum of care service providers are able to pinpoint where gaps may exist in connecting people living with HIV to sustained, quality care. Their goal is to improve the delivery of services to people living with HIV across the entire continuum of care.

Medical providers now understand that to prevent long-term complications of HIV, treatment is recommended for all people living with HIV no matter how recent or long ago their HIV infection was discovered. This will allow people to live healthier, longer lives and reduce the chances that they will transmit HIV to others.

The HIV care continuum has provided valuable information for program planning.  At state and local levels, program planners examine the HIV care continuum—compiled using local data—to decide where resources should be targeted. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), large public health departments such as Tri-County Health Department and health care providers such as Denver Health have created and expanded linkage to care and peer navigation programs to better address Colorado’s care continuum.

For more information on Colorado’s HIV Care Continuum contact Elaine Daniloff at . This blog will continue to provide up-to-date information on this topic. Thanks for reading!

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