The concept of the HIV/AIDS Surveillance Data Base was developed by the U.S. Census Bureau in consultation with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in 1987. The Data Base was created to provide easy access to published results from the multitude of seroprevalence surveys and other studies that were being undertaken at the time. The Data Base continues to be updated annually by the Census Bureau with the support of USAID to meet the needs of policy makers and program planners around the world.
The HIV/AIDS Surveillance Data Base is a compilation of information from widely scattered small-scale surveys on the AIDS pandemic and HIV seroprevalence (infection) in population groups in developing countries. The Data Base hosts information from medical and scientific literature, presentations at international conferences, and the press. Through the Data Base interface, available information for population groups in a selected country can be easily retrieved and displayed on the computer screen, and printed or saved to a .pdf or .csv file.
The current status of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and trends in the spread of HIV infection are critical issues for policy makers and program planners in developing countries and the international development community. Identifying "hot spots" in the spread of infection assists decision makers in effectively allocating scarce program funds. Programs of ongoing data collection from specific sites, known as sentinel surveillance systems, have provided much data on prevalence among specific population groups in many countries – pregnant women attending antenatal clinics, patients seeking healthcare from clinics, sex workers, intravenous drug users, and others. Beginning in 2001, HIV testing from population-based surveys, such as the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), has provided important data from the general population.
The HIV/AIDS Surveillance Data Base is maintained by the U.S. Census Bureau with funds from the U.S. Agency for International Development, and it is updated annually. The Census Bureau welcomes comments and suggestions from users and copies of articles or references to information that may have been overlooked.