Evaluation of the time from HIV diagnosis to viral suppression (VS) captures the collective effectiveness of HIV prevention and treatment activities in a given locale and provides a more global estimate of how effectively the larger HIV care system is working in a given geographic area or jurisdiction.
This study aimed to evaluate temporal and geographic variability in VS among persons with newly diagnosed HIV infection in Alabama between 2012 and 2014.
With data from the National HIV Surveillance System, we evaluated median time from HIV diagnosis to VS (<200 c/mL) overall and stratified by Alabama public health area (PHA) among persons with HIV diagnosed during 2012 to 2014 using the Kaplan-Meier approach.
Among 1979 newly diagnosed persons, 1181 (59.67%) achieved VS within 12 months of diagnosis; 52.6% (353/671) in 2012, 59.5% (377/634) in 2013, and 66.9% (451/674) in 2014. Median time from HIV diagnosis to VS was 8 months: 10 months in 2012, 8 months in 2013, and 6 months in 2014. Across 11 PHAs in Alabama, 12-month VS ranged from 45.8% (130/284) to 84% (26/31), and median time from diagnosis to VS ranged from 5 to 13 months.
Temporal improvement in persons achieving VS following HIV diagnosis statewide in Alabama is encouraging. However, considerable geographic variability warrants further evaluation to inform public health action. Time from HIV diagnosis to VS represents a meaningful indicator that can be incorporated into public health surveillance and programming.