About the AIDS Institute - Surveillance

Behavioral Surveillance Projects

National HIV Behavioral Surveillance (NHBS) System

The National HIV Behavioral Surveillance (NHBS) system is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-sponsored, cross-sectional study of people at high risk for HIV in selected cities. In New York State, NHBS is conducted by the Bureau of HIV/AIDS Epidemiology (BHAE) with a geographic focus in Nassau and Suffolk Counties (Long Island). The health survey is implemented in annual rotating cycles among men who have sex with men, heterosexuals at increased risk for HIV, and injection drug users.  BHAE collects timely, comprehensive information about sexual and drug use risk behaviors, HIV testing histories, and exposure to and use of HIV prevention services. 

The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) collaborates with a formative research consultant to obtain contextual socio-demographic information on the target population prior to full-scale implementation.  BHAE also collaborates with community agencies in Long Island to administer day-to-day project activities.  BHAE has developed working relationships with traditional and non-traditional HIV prevention partners with strong ties to the populations of interest.

All data are collected anonymously; a core interview, questions of local interest, and an HIV test comprise the health survey.  To ensure that local concerns are adequately addressed, the behavioral team collaborates with AIDS Institute Division of HIV/STD/Hepatitis C Prevention staff, the Bureau of STD Prevention and Epidemiology, and the Office of Program Evaluation and Research to develop cycle specific local questions.  NHBS data are used to develop and direct the evaluation of national and local HIV prevention services and programs, including targeted testing and syringe exchange programs.

Contact:

Ashley Tate
Senior Project Coordinator
Bureau of HIV/AIDS Epidemiology
(518) 474-4284
ashley.tate@health.ny.gov

STD-Related Behavioral Surveillance

The Bureau of STD Prevention and Epidemiology (BSTDPE) conducts behavioral surveillance to guide policy and programmatic development.  Several sources of primary and secondary data are used to understand risk behaviors in: a) groups at higher risk of STDs, b) localities with higher STD rates, and c) the general population. A primary strategy for general population behavioral surveillance has been the inclusion of a state-added sexual behavior module on the annual statewide Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey, coordinated with the NYSDOH Division of Chronic Disease Prevention. BSTDPE has periodically repeated questions to collect data on trends over time related to sexual health, STD awareness, knowledge and attitudes about sexual health education in schools, and attitudes about condom availability programs for schools.  The Bureau uses this data to provide and highlight useful information for STD prevention planning and sexual health promotion.

Contact:

Rachel Malloy, PhD, MPH
Director, Surveillance and Special Projects
Bureau of STD Prevention and Epidemiology
(518) 474-3598
rachel.malloy@health.ny.gov

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STD Surveillance and Data Management

The Bureau of STD Prevention and Epidemiology’s (BSTDPE) Surveillance and Special Projects Unit (SSPU) is responsible for conducting STD surveillance activities related to screening, disease morbidity, and HIV/STD Partner Services disease intervention activities. These activities include data collection and cleaning; STD treatment and partner services quality assurance and quality improvement; and dissemination of data to local, statewide, and national partners. SSPU works closely with the Bureau of HIV/STD Field Services, Regional Offices, and local health departments (LHD). Surveillance reporting includes identifying emerging issues, describing geographic and temporal trends in disease occurrence, and providing information necessary to develop and implement strategies for disease control and prevention. The surveillance data are also used to evaluate program activities including existing regulations, field operations effectiveness, and screening programs.

With respect to disease morbidity, SSPU coordinates surveillance for reportable STDs conducted through a combination of passive, active, and laboratory-based reporting for the 57 New York State counties outside of New York City. These data are maintained using the Department’s Web-based Electronic Clinical Laboratory Reporting System (ECLRS), the Communicable Disease Electronic Surveillance System (CDESS), and an electronic syphilis serology registry. With respect to partner services for STDs and HIV/AIDS, SSPU coordinates data collection and case management through the CDESS Management Information System (CDESS-MIS) and eAssign, an electronic case assignment utility program. CDESS-MIS and eAssign are also used for follow-up of HIV/AIDS patients who are identified as out-of-care by the Bureau of HIV/AIDS Epidemiology. SSPU provides training and technical assistance to data systems users; oversees and promotes laboratory and provider reporting of STDs, assures treatment, and works closely with LHD and Regional Offices to validate collected data. Ad hoc requests for data are completed upon request.

SSPU operates the Interstate Communication and Coordination Relay (ICCR) desk which facilitates the transmission of STD intervention information among project areas, including National and Canadian STD control programs. The ICCR significantly contributes to STD control efforts by ensuring intervention services are not hindered by geographical boundaries. The ICCR desk also assists with coordinating HIV/AIDS partner services.    

Morbidity data are summarized annually and disseminated in the Annual STD Statistical Abstract as well as within focused data briefs. The Annual Abstract presents reported case frequencies and rates for New York State and New York City by disease, county, gender, and age. SSPU works with other disease control programs in NYSDOH as well as external partners to conduct independent research. Study results are presented at national conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals.

Contact:

Rachel Malloy
Director, Surveillance and Special Projects
Bureau of STD Prevention and Epidemiology
(518) 474-3598
rachel.malloy@health.ny.gov

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HIV Surveillance

HIV diagnosis surveillance activities are conducted by the AIDS Institute Bureau of HIV/AIDS Epidemiology (BHAE). These activities include facilitation and monitoring of HIV-related laboratory and clinician reporting in New York State, field surveillance of newly diagnosed cases, ongoing linkage to administrative data sources, preparation and dissemination of routine and custom reports, and conduct of special studies monitoring the course of the HIV epidemic.

The core foundation of HIV surveillance relies on the roughly 1.3 million laboratory test reports transmitted annually to the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) by laboratories serving NYS residents and NYS clinicians. Records on newly identified cases are assigned to NYSDOH or New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH) field staff for case ascertainment and/or to State and county health department staff for Health Department Partner Services activities.

HIV surveillance data are used to support NYSDOH HIV/AIDS prevention and care program managers, community health planners, and health care professionals across the state in their efforts to plan and provide cost-effective interventions. Surveillance data are also used by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to track the epidemic at state and national levels, and as a basis for determining the amount of federal funding for New York State’s HIV/AIDS-related prevention and treatment programs.

HIV surveillance data are used programmatically to identify people living with diagnosed HIV infection who have fallen out of HIV medical care.  The AIDS Institute uses this data in order to facilitate re-engagement of these individuals in the HIV health care system for continued treatment.

Other surveillance-related programs include Enhanced Perinatal Surveillance, under which HIV-exposed infants and their mothers receive diagnostic testing and medical record review; HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) seroprevalence monitoring through an unlinked study of incoming inmates to the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) system; HIV incidence Surveillance to identify and project new infections; and the Molecular HIV Surveillance project, which uses routinely collected HIV genotype laboratory test reports to monitor the level of resistance testing in newly diagnosed persons, track the potential emergence of multiply-resistant viral strains, and attempt to identify and describe HIV transmission networks.

Contact:

Bridget J. Anderson, PhD
Director
Bureau of HIV/AIDS Epidemiology
(518) 474-4284
bridget.anderson@health.ny.gov

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Medical Monitoring Project

The Bureau of HIV/AIDS Epidemiology (BHAE) conducts the Medical Monitoring Project (MMP) for New York State (excluding NYC), a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded project conducted in 23 jurisdictions nationwide. MMP collects data via a survey and medical chart information for people living in New York State (outside of NYC) with diagnosed HIV infection. The data are used to measure the quality of HIV health care, issues affecting people with HIV such as mental health issues, drug and alcohol use, social issues, stigma, barriers to care, and clinical outcomes. MMP also uses this information to provide participants with referrals to health care and support services.

Contact:

Megan Swanson
Senior Project Coordinator
Bureau of HIV/AIDS Epidemiology
(518) 474-4284
megan.swanson@health.ny.gov