The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is applying for funds to implement an integrated HIV surveillance and prevention program. The funds will be used to support HIV prevention and surveillance activities during the period 2018-2022.
Component A (Core Program) will provide funding for the purposes of conducting the following activities: systematically collect, analyze, interpret, and disseminate HIV data to characterize trends in HIV infection; detect active HIV transmission, implement public health interventions, evaluate public health response, identify persons with HIV infection and unidentified persons at risk for HIV infection; develop, maintain, and implement plans to respond to HIV transmission clusters and outbreaks; provide comprehensive HIV-related prevention services for persons living with diagnosed HIV infection and HIV-negative persons at risk for HIV infection; conduct perinatal HIV prevention and surveillance activities; conduct community-level HIV prevention activities; develop partnerships to conduct integrated HIV prevention and care planning; implement structural strategies to support and facilitate HIV surveillance and prevention; conduct data-driven planning, monitoring, and build capacity for conducting effective HIV program activities, epidemiological science, and geocoding. Primary outcomes addressed by this funding are the prevention of new HIV infections, achieving viral suppression among persons living with HIV, and reducing health-related disparities.
South Carolina’s HIV Surveillance Program strives to use quality, timely, and complete data to guide HIV prevention programs. DHEC has conducted HIV/AIDS surveillance since the 1980’s. State law requires medical care providers to report diagnosed HIV infection and AIDS case to DHEC. Nearly 800 persons in South Carolina are newly diagnosed with HIV/AIDS each year, with African-Americans making up 75% of the new cases. The state uses HIV Surveillance data to plan and design prevention and care programs. The information collected by Surveillance is used to determine priority populations, identify unmet need and Community Viral Load, describe risk behaviors, and evaluate specific prevention and linkage to care efforts. Surveillance data has also been used since 1988 to initiate partner notification services. Neither standard partner services activities nor new data-to-care initiatives would be possible without HIV Surveillance data collected under this grant.
South Carolina’s HIV Prevention Program began in 1985 with HIV testing in DHEC’s local health departments. Testing has continued to be central to the prevention program during the past 32 years. DHEC’s prevention program has grown successfully during these three decades to also encompass activities that impact the entire spectrum of the HIV care continuum in close coordination with the DHEC HIV Care Services Program, started in the early 1990s. The prevention and care programs are supported fully by the HIV Surveillance Program. DHEC’s programs have been implemented throughout the 46 county health departments as well as via strong partnerships with community-based grantees. Management, oversight, capacity building and technical assistance are provided from the DHEC central office to health departments and to the more than 15 prevention grantees, many of which are also HIV care services grantees. South Carolinians have benefited over these years from DHEC’s state-level coordination and trusted collaboration with its community partners.