Florida has a diverse population, substantial HIV/AIDS morbidity, and unique issues with respect to HIV/AIDS surveillance and prevention. Florida’s comprehensive, multi-faceted and integrated HIV prevention and surveillance programs are managed and directed by the HIV/AIDS Section of the Bureau of Communicable Diseases in the Florida Department of Health (Department). Through collaborations with community partnerships and county health departments, high-quality, evidence-based culturally appropriate prevention and education services are supported and provided to Florida’s populations at-risk for HIV and those currently living with a diagnosis of HIV. Surveillance data, including data from the Medical Monitoring Project (MMP), are systematically collected and disseminated to a wide-ranging audience and integrated planning bodies provide guidance on how to implement these programs effectively across the state.
Florida has participated in MMP since 2007 and has experience using the previous facility-based sampling frame as well as the current case-surveillance based sampling frame to include persons living with HIV (PLWH) both in and out of HIV-related care. The Department has authority to conduct MMP surveillance activities under Chapter 381, Florida Statutes, and Florida Administrative Code Rule 64D-3, which are related to communicable disease reporting and surveillance. Participation by the Department in MMP data collection assists in addressing or contributing to the national objectives listed in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, Healthy People 2020, and the EHE initiative. The Department intends to use the data collected from this project to determine the motives behind why those living with HIV are not accessing HIV medical care services or why they drop out of HIV medical care and to determine whether there are socio-demographic or risk factors and behavioral characteristics that are predictors for individuals to be intermittently engaged in care. Information and data obtained from MMP will be used to inform HIV/AIDS prevention and patient care activities to improve linkage to care and retention in care initiatives and to address the unmet needs of PLWH in Florida.
Overarching goals for Florida MMP include successful implementation of both components A and B to monitor sociodemographic variables, behavioral and clinical characteristics, supportive service needs, use of healthcare and prevention services, and whether clinical care received aligns with current guidelines among adults with diagnosed HIV; implementation of evidence-based local and national decisions to improve HIV prevention and treatment programs and policies; and ultimately a reduction in new HIV diagnoses, HIV-associated morbidity, and disparities in health outcomes among PLWH. High quality data collected by Florida MMP will be used to expand on data already captured through routine HIV surveillance and to help inform and guide local and national HIV prevention, care, and treatment efforts. These integrated data will be the cornerstone of ending the HIV epidemic in Florida and essential to the improvement of services for PLWH.