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HIV/AIDS: Know the Facts and FAQs - HIV/AIDS Statistics & Surveillance - HIV/AIDS Awareness Days

HIV/AIDS Statistics and Surveillance

Timely and accurate HIV and AIDS case reporting provides a better understanding of the epidemic on local levels.  Epidemiologists can monitor trends in populations being affected by HIV infection; project future numbers of cases and provide information for those responsible for planning for future health care needs, prevention and educational activities.

Failure to report in a timely manner may have an impact on current and projected funding needs. Funding formulas using data that represents under-reporting of HIV or AIDS cases may translate into under-funded programs and services for those with HIV infection. Collecting information about HIV will help us to get a better understanding of HIV in our state. We need to know if people with HIV are getting the care they need. HIV information is also used to obtain funds for HIV prevention and treatment services. 

1981—Confidential name-based AIDS case reporting began in Pennsylvania

Understanding HIV/AIDS Surveillance


Please visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Bureau of Epidemiology website for general HIV/AIDS statistical summaries: www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/hivaids/14241/hiv_aids_annual_summary_other_reports/557343

Please visit the Statistics Center at www.cdc.gov/hiv for more information.


The 2008 revised HIV case definition was used to classify HIV infection among adults and adolescents and among children [3]. The revised definition incor­porates an HIV infection classification staging system that includes AIDS (HIV infection, stage 3). The stages of HIV infection are defined as follows:

  • HIV infection, stage 1: No AIDS-defining condi­tion and either CD4 count of 500 cells/μL or CD4 percentage of total lymphocytes of 29.
  • HIV infection, stage 2: No AIDS-defining condi­tion and either CD4 count of 200–499 cells/μL or CD4 percentage of total lymphocytes of 14–28.
  • HIV infection, stage 3 (AIDS): Documentation of an AIDS-defining condition or either a CD4 count of <200 cells/μL or a CD4 percentage of total lym­phocytes of <14. Documentation of an AIDS-defining condition supersedes a CD4 count or per­centage that would not, by itself, be the basis for a stage 3 (AIDS) classification.
  • HIV infection, stage unknown: No reported information on AIDS-defining conditions and no information available on CD4 count or percentage.

Although AIDS cases have been reported to CDC since 1981, the implementation of HIV infec­tion reporting has differed from state to state. As of April 2008, all states, the District of Columbia, and 6 U.S. dependent areas had fully implemented name-based HIV infec­tion reporting.  Case report data is available from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 6 U.S. dependent areas (American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the Republic of Palau, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) in which laws or regulations require confidential reporting by name for adults, ado­lescents, and children with confirmed diagnoses of HIV infection.  After the removal of personal identify­ing information, data from these reports are submit­ted to CDC.

Transmission category is the term for the classification of cases that summarizes a person’s possible HIV risk factors; the summary classification results from select­ing, from the presumed hierarchical order of probabil­ity, the 1 risk factor most likely to have been responsible for transmission. For surveillance purposes, a diagnosis of HIV infection is counted only once in the hierarchy of transmission categories. Persons with more than 1 reported risk factor for HIV infection are classi­fied in the transmission category listed first in the hier­archy. The exception is men who had sexual contact with other men and injected drugs; this group makes up a separate transmission category.  Persons whose transmission category is classified as male-to-male sexual contact include men who have ever had sexual contact with other men (i.e., homosexual contact) and men who have ever had sex­ual contact with both men and women (i.e., bisexual contact). Persons whose transmission category is classified as heterosexual contact are persons who have ever had heterosexual contact with a person known to have, or to be at high risk for, HIV infection (e.g., an injection drug user).


For more information about HIV/AIDS Surveillance, contact:

Sharita Flaherty, HIV Program Manager
Email: ssflaherty@buckscounty.org
1282 Almshouse Rd
Doylestown, PA 18901
Phone: 215-345-3835
Fax: 215-345-3833

Administrative Office/Central Bucks
Neshaminy Manor Center Bldg. K
1282 Almshouse Road
Doylestown, PA 18901
Phone: 215-345-3344

Bucks County Government Services Center
Lower Bucks District Office
7321 New Falls Rd.
Levittown, PA 19055
Phone: 267-580-3510

Bucks County Government Services Center
Upper Bucks District Office
261 California Road
Quakertown, PA 18951
Phone: 215-529-7000