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Molecular HIV Surveillance

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has received funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct Molecular HIV Surveillance (MHS) activities. The data collected as part of the MHS Program at VDH will be used to establish a baseline of antiretroviral (ARV) drug resistance, evaluate the mutations associated with ARV resistance, and monitor the prevalence and spread of drug resistant strains of HIV in Virginia. Assessing the prevalence and trends of acquired and transmitted HIV drug resistance can be used to evaluate the impact of HIV prevention and treatment programs, provide relevant data to guide regional treatment recommendations and decisions, and enhance the understanding of the burden of HIV in Virginia and the United States.

The objectives of MHS are to:

  • Collect all HIV nucleotide sequence data from laboratories that perform HIV genotypic drug resistance testing;
  • Use molecular epidemiologic techniques to assess HIV drug resistance, evaluate HIV genetic diversity, and describe HIV transmission patterns; and
  • Disseminate results of molecular HIV data analyses to assist HIV treatment, prevention, and program planning and evaluation.

To strengthen VDH's ability to obtain HIV nucleotide sequence data, VDH proposed the following regulatory amendment language to two sections of the Code of Virginia, Regulations for Disease Reporting and Control (12VAC5-90-80, B; 12VAC5-90-90, B). This regulatory amendment was initiated through the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall process on September 18, 2013 and is anticipated to be passed in the near future. Once approved, the amendment will strengthen the MHS program's ability to collect HIV nucleotide sequence data from laboratories by making it a mandatory reporting requirement. For more information on the status of the regulatory amendment approval, please visit the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall website.

VDH has begun working with laboratories performing HIV genotyping on specimens collected from residents of Virginia to determine the best methods for data transfer to VDH of HIV nucleotide sequence data based on each laboratory's capabilities. VDH plans to receive initial MHS data from one or more laboratories by the end of 2014 and to initiate regular MHS data receipt from all laboratories in early 2015. 

Additional Resources

CDC MHS Technical Guidance

For more information on the implementation of the MHS program at VDH, please contact us.

Last Updated: 01-15-2015

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