Planning, Prevention, Care,
Treatment, Surveillance and Epidemiology
Pennsylvania will become a place where new HIV infections are rare and when they do occur, every person, regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or socio-economic circumstance, will have unfettered access to high quality, life extending care, free from stigma and discrimination.
The Division of HIV Disease works with community partners to ensure that a full array of HIV prevention and care services are available and accessible throughout the Commonwealth for people infected with, and affected by, HIV and AIDS and those at-risk for contracting HIV. The Division is organized into three program sections, the Prevention Section, the Care Section, and the Special Pharmaceutical Benefits Program (SPBP). Services provided by each section are detailed below.
Focus Areas of HIV Services Provided
Integrated HIV Planning
A HIV Planning Group (HPG) was formed to respond to the need to integrate HIV care
and prevention planning. Prior to 2013 the Integrated Planning Council (IPC) focused on HIV care and the Community Planning Group (CPG) focused on HIV prevention as
directed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health (Department). These two planning
bodies decided to integrate care and prevention in response to the recommendations
from the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) and the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This integrated planning body functions as an
advisory group to the Department to assist in meeting legislative requirements and
expectations, to review best practices for use in PA, and accomplish all HIV/AIDS
planning activities for the Commonwealth.
The broad scope of the HPG ties directly to the Continuum of HIV Services in
Pennsylvania and as defined by the Division of HIV/AIDS Mission Statement and
supports the Vision Statement of the Division of HIV/AIDS and the National HIV/AIDS
Strategy. To accomplish these goals the HPG provides advisory support
for Department of Health planning activities on the following focus areas: Needs
Assessment (including the epidemiological profile, identified gaps and resources),
Priority Setting, Resource Allocation, Plan Development, Implementation, and
The Prevention Section utilizes Commonwealth as well as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funds to implement a comprehensive HIV prevention program to reduce morbidity, mortality, and related health disparities; in accordance with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS). HIV Prevention Section staff, HIV Prevention Program Field Staff and contractors conduct the following activities to reduce the number of new HIV infections, increase the proportion of HIV-infected persons who know they are infected, and link them to appropriate prevention, care, and treatment services.
Core HIV Prevention Activities:
HIV Testing - Although individuals are encouraged to seek HIV testing from their healthcare providers, the Department does make HIV testing, particularly for those individuals at highest risk for HIV available in a number of sites through a network of providers. A variety of testing technologies such as blood-based, oral-based, oral fluid-based, and rapid testing are used. For more information about HIV testing in Pennsylvania, please click the link on the right entitled "Where Can I Get an HIV Test?"
Comprehensive Prevention with Positives, including Partner Services (PS) - HIV Prevention Program Field Staff in the District Health Offices and county and municipal health departments provide Comprehensive Prevention with positives, which includes activities such as linkage to care, retention/re-engagement, referrals to other services, CD4& Viral load testing, and partner services (PS) for clients diagnosed both in publicly funded testing sites, as well as at private providers.
PS Brochure containing information for private providers about partner services.
Condom Distribution - Free condoms are available from the Department with priority
given to Department funded testing sites, STD clinics, HIV care providers, and private
providers serving large numbers of HIV positive individuals. Agencies may order condoms from the Department using this Condom Order Form. Individuals may access free condoms at any of the sites listed in the "Where Can I Get an HIV Test?" link to the right above.
Policy Initiatives – Initiatives designed to effect changes that will improve HIV Prevention Activities. Impacts may be on a local, health department, or statewide level.
Other Prevention Section Activities, accomplished by or in collaboration with contractors, such as the University of Pittsburgh's HIV Prevention and Care Project and the Pennsylvania State University:
- Jurisdictional HIV Prevention Planning
- Comprehensive HIV Prevention Plan
- Capacity-Building Activities
- Program Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation
- Expanded HIV Testing Initiative to promote routine HIV testing in healthcare settings
The coordination and delivery of HIV/AIDS care and support services is primarily
accomplished through grant agreements with seven Regional Grantees (including the Philadelphia Department of Public Health), which provide a statewide service delivery network for persons with HIV or AIDS and their families, who have no other means to pay for services. The Care Section is responsible for the following:
Provision of Ryan White Part B Core Medical and Support services for eligible HIV + individuals – The Department receives an annual grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for the oversight of Core Services and Support services. Funding designated for Core services provided to individuals include outpatient health services, oral health care, health insurance assistance, home health care, home and community based health services, hospice services, medical case management, and substance abuse and mental health services. Support services provided are emergency financial assistance, food bank and home delivered meals, housing, legal, linguistic, medical transportation, outreach, psychosocial support, respite care and treatment adherence counseling.
CD4+ T-Cell and Viral Load Testing - Knowledge of the CD4+ T-cell count and viral load is critical to determining an HIV-positive individual's response to therapy and disease progression. Therefore, free and confidential CD4+ T-cell and viral load tests are offered to HIV-positive individuals who participate in the SPBP or who are eligible for Ryan White Part B funding, or have no other means to pay for the tests.
Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Program - The Department receives an annual grant from Housing and Urban Development to administer the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program. Through HOPWA funding, six of the seven Regional Grantees provide rental assistance, short term mortgage payments and other housing-related services for people infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS.
Corrections Discharge Case Management Planning - The Transitional Planning Initiative was formed between the Department and the Department of Corrections (DOC) and was implemented to assist HIV-positive inmates in transitioning to the community upon release from the state correctional setting. DOC staff members use Division funded networks to connect HIV-positive inmates with case managers to facilitate access to medical and supportive services in their home communities.
Quality Management – In order to ensure services are consistent with guidelines for improvement in the access to and quality of HIV services, the Care Section has implemented a Quality Management Program.
Other Care Section Activities, accomplished by or in collaboration with contractors, such as the University of Pittsburgh, HIV Prevention and Care Project and the Pennsylvania State University:
- Comprehensive HIV Planning;
- Capacity-Building Activities;
- Program Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation;
- Needs Assessment; and
- Critical Phase Intervention Project working with HIV testing sites to ensure the linkage of newly identified HIV+ individuals into Care services.
- Phase Intervention Project working with HIV testing sites to ensure the linkage of newly identified HIV+ individuals into Care services.
SPECIAL PHARMACEUTICAL BENEFITS PROGRAM (SPBP) SECTION:
The SPBP Section administers the AIDS Drug Assistance component of the Ryan White PA Part B federal grant. This program serves low to moderate income individuals (500% FPL) who are under or uninsured and not Medicaid eligible. Services include the provision of:
Medications for HIV and related opportunistic infections. The medications are accessed through a statewide pharmacy network of over 2800 pharmacies that hold an agreement with the program to provide medications on behalf of the SPBP.
Lab services for cardholders who have no other insurance. The service must be accessed through any Medicaid enrolled lab that has the ability to submit claims electronically.
Part D premium assistance for Medicare eligible cardholders.
Minority AIDS Initiative: This program seeks to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health by targeting beneficial educational services to PLWHA from racial and ethnic minority groups. Program activities are intended to increase enrollment in SPBP of eligible HIV-positive individuals who are at high risk or have been lost to care.
HIV SURVEILLANCE & EPIDEMIOLOGY:
The surveillance services entail monitoring of HIV Disease Burden through HIV/AIDS & Perinatal Exposure Case Reporting and HIV Incidence Surveillance:
Design, coordinate and conduct surveillance activities to assure all HIV/AIDS and perinatal exposure cases diagnosed or treated in Pennsylvania are reported according to the Department of Health regulations;
- Design and conduct studies to evaluate the effectiveness of surveillance activities, redirecting activities as indicated to ensure accuracy, timeliness and completeness of HIV reporting;
- Coordinate Field Surveillance:
- Collaborate with local Health Departments to establish liaison with hospitals and clinics, laboratories, physicians, drug registries, correctional facilities, and other public agencies to enhance the identification and reporting of HIV cases.
- Conduct epidemiologic investigations of cases reported with an unidentified mode of transmission, occupationally exposed health care workers, cases receiving blood transfusions after 1985, and other cases of epidemiologic importance.
- Provide consultation, professional and technical assistance, and training to county and municipal health departments and district health offices on case reporting/surveillance.
- Coordinate Electronic Laboratory Reporting(ELR) of HIV and CD4 T-lymphocyte test results:
Coordinate and assure reporting of reportable laboratory test results by all national and state laboratories that perform HIV and CD4 T-lymphocyte tests on specimens from Pennsylvania.
Perform Data Management:
Maintain a secure, confidential registry of all reported cases of HIV/AIDS that includes epidemiologic, demographic, and clinical information for individual cases. Validate each case for accuracy and completeness and update when new information is received.
Conduct analyses of HIV surveillance data in response to community and public
end-user requests, and disseminate HIV surveillance/statistical reports across