Background: Sharing data between HIV and STD programs can inform patient management and partner services, increasing intervention opportunities and minimizing redundant services. However, jurisdictions may face barriers to routinely sharing and using data. We investigated data sharing practices by HIV and STD programs in the United States.
Methods: We conducted a web-based survey of the 65 CDC directly-funded jurisdictions (50 states + 15 cities/territories) in January 2013. HIV and STD managers were asked to complete the survey separately unless there was only one HIV/STD manager. The survey included questions on data access between HIV and STD programs, how shared data are used, and barriers to sharing and using data.
Results: There were 88 respondents to the survey representing 91% (59/65) of program areas. Over half (56%) of jurisdictions had a respondent from both HIV and STD programs and/or a respondent in a joint HIV/STD position. Among jurisdictions with concordant responses by participants, STD staff have access to HIV data in 92% (47/51) of jurisdictions; however, in 47% the access is indirect (e.g., STD staff must contact HIV staff). In 84% (42/50) of jurisdictions with concordant responses, HIV staff have access to STD data; in 72% the access is direct (e.g., HIV staff can access STD database). Barriers to sharing data included restrictive data policies, incompatible databases, and lack of resources. In 56% of jurisdictions sharing data, HIV status of persons diagnosed with an STD is used to guide partner services. In 54% of jurisdictions sharing data, HIV-infected persons reported with a subsequent STD are targeted for HIV prevention.
Conclusions: Most jurisdictions routinely share data across HIV and STD programs; however, a few jurisdictions reported barriers to sharing and many are not using shared data to target prevention efforts. Identification and dissemination of approaches to sharing data for prevention are needed.