Surveillance

Doctor with patient

HIV surveillance is the process of collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data on individuals infected with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), the virus that can cause AIDS. To access a more complete picture of HIV in our state from a data perspective, start with our Vermont HIV/AIDS Annual Report. This report provides information on HIV diagnoses and mortality, gender and race demographics and the age distribution of cases. It outlines the behavioral risks associated with Vermont’s HIV cases. For this and more information on HIV in our state, read the Vermont HIV/AIDS Annual Report.

We use data presented in the most recent Integrated Epidemiological Profile for HIV/AIDS (updated every five years) to guide Vermont's HIV/AIDS prevention and care/support service efforts. The comprehensive and multi-perspective profile information is also used to evaluate programs and policies, and is an essential planning tool for HIV prevention and care in our state. Read the most recent Integrated Epidemiological Profile for Prevention and Care Planning in Vermont 2011.

HIV/STD/Hepatitis Program Evaluation and Monitoring System (PEMS) and Client Confidentiality

PEMS Red Ribbon Logo

We at the health department value client confidentiality and recognize the importance of health information privacy, particularly when it comes to HIV services. No client should fear that their behavioral risk information, which may include socially stigmatized activities (e.g.: sex, drug use), will be shared with anyone other than authorized individuals with reasonable need to know. Neither should a client feel the need to withhold information for fear of the legal liability that could result from unauthorized disclosure of their behavioral risk info.

It is essential that clients feel confident that any data collected about them is treated in an appropriate manner. Trust in our systems of care and support is essential if people living with HIV, or at high risk for HIV infection, are to get the most out of the programs designed to help them be as healthy as they can be.

The HIV/STD/Hepatitis (HSH) Program’s confidentiality and data training for our community partner organizations that deliver HIV testing, care and prevention services covers a range of topics including:

  • How client data is collected, stored, transported and submitted to the HSH Program in ways that protect privacy.
  • Action steps for service providers that help protect client data.

HSH Program grantee staff and volunteers, who handle sensitive client health information as part of their work, must complete the following Confidentiality Training and pass a written assessment. Finally, staff and volunteers who handle health information must review and sign two statements, committing themselves to protecting client confidentiality. These steps are completed before handling client data. The HSH Program requires that these steps are completed on an annual basis.

Review the Confidentiality Training for PEMS Users slide set to learn more about our confidentiality training.

Confidentiality Training For HIV Services Staff and Volunteers

If you are a staff member or volunteer working for an HIV grantee organization of the HSH Program you must complete all three steps outlined below before you handle client level data. Repeat this process annually as required in our grant award agreements.

Step One – If you will, or currently, handle client health information or data, as a worker or volunteer delivering HIV services, review the Confidentiality Training for PEMS Users slides. Some people find it useful to print a copy of the slide set for later review. You may need a current version of Adobe Reader to complete this process. If so, click on the link below for a free download.

Adobe Reader download button

Step Two – After you have viewed the slides above, open the PEMS Confidentiality & Security quiz in SurveyMonkey. After you complete the quiz, press the submit button to automatically e-mail your responses to the HSH Program.

PEMS Confidentiality and Security Quiz

The quiz on SurveyMonkey must be completed in a single session. To complete your quiz over multiple sessions, use the MSWord version below and save your responses as you go. When you are ready to submit, copy and paste your responses from your Word document into the template on SurveyMonkey via the link above. All quizzes must be submitted through SurveyMonkey.

PEMS Confidentiality and Security Quiz for Editing

Step Three – The two documents below must be printed, reviewed, signed and submitted before a person can handle client data.

Print, complete and mail the two statements above to:

HSH Program/PEMS Statements
108 Cherry Street
Drawer 41-IDEPI
PO Box 70
Burlington, VT 05402-0070

After your quiz is submitted, a HSH Program staff member will contact you with your score and you will be informed of your status regarding the handling of client data.