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Ending the HIV Epidemic: Identifying Barriers and Facilitators to Implement Molecular HIV Surveillance to Develop Real-Time Cluster Detection and Response Interventions for Local Communities

Moctezuma Garcia, Samantha Devlin, Jared Kerman, Kayo Fujimoto, Lisa R Hirschhorn, Gregory Phillips 2nd John Schneider. Moira C McNulty

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

The rapid implementation of molecular HIV surveillance (MHS) has resulted in significant challenges for local health departments to develop real-time cluster detection and response (CDR) interventions for priority populations impacted by HIV. This study is among the first to explore professionals' strategies to implement MHS and develop CDR interventions in real-world public health settings. Methods: Semi-structured qualitative interviews were completed by 21 public health stakeholders in the United States' southern and midwestern regions throughout 2020-2022 to identify themes related to the implementation and development of MHS and CDR. Results for the thematic analysis revealed (1) strengths and limitations in utilizing HIV surveillance data for real-time CDR; (2) limitations of MHS data due to medical provider and staff concerns related to CDR; (3) divergent perspectives on the effectiveness of partner services; (4) optimism, but reluctance about the social network strategy; and (5) enhanced partnerships with community stakeholders to address MHS-related concerns. Conclusions: Enhancing MHS and CDR efforts requires a centralized system for staff to access public health data from multiple databases to develop CDR interventions; designating staff dedicated to CDR interventions; and establishing equitable meaningful partnerships with local community stakeholders to address MHS concerns and develop culturally informed CDR interventions.

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