Background: The Enhanced HIV/AIDS Reporting System (eHARS) serves as Arkansas’ HIV/AIDS registry. In January 2013, the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) began surveillance for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection using CDC’s NEDSS (National Electronic Disease Surveillance System) Base System (NBS) and prioritized surveillance of suspected acute cases and chronic cases aged <30 years or incarcerated when reported. Prior to 2013, ADH’s HIV and HCV registries were not matched to identify coinfected individuals.
Methods: In September 2013, individuals living in Arkansas and documented in the HIV/AIDS and HCV registries were matched by first and last names and date of birth using SAS and confirmed manually. Risk factor and demographic information on coinfected individuals was reviewed to assess the usefulness of matching registries.
Results: Matching of 2,018 HCV-infected and 5,984 HIV-infected individuals resulted in the identification of 34 coinfected individuals. Twenty-five had documented male-to-male sexual contact or injection drug use in eHARS; 4 had no risk factor information. Only four cases had any risk factors documented in NBS. Of 12 individuals documented as HIV-infected in NBS prior to the registry match, 2 did not match to an eHARS record. One was reported without a confirmatory test result and the second was an individual who had recently moved to Arkansas from another state.
Conclusions: Because ADH does not have long-standing experience with a hepatitis C registry and cannot thoroughly investigate each case due to resource limitations, using alternate data sources to enhance information on HCV-infected individuals is valuable. Case follow up procedures among individuals reported with HCV resulted in the identification of two potentially HIV-infected individuals who had previously been undocumented in eHARS. Matching registries that document related conditions is mutually beneficial in enhancing data quality and case detection. Due to the success of this effort, the HIV and HCV registries will be matched at least annually.