HIV Infection/ AIDS

Cause: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) due to depletion of CD4+ T-lymphocytes.

Illness and treatment: Susceptibility is increased for various opportunistic infections and malignancies. Antiretroviral treatment has considerably improved the prognosis for cases with HIV infection.

Sources and spread: HIV is usually transmitted by contact with the blood, semen or vaginal secretions of an infected person.

Additional risks: Groups at increased risk include injection drug users and persons with multiple sexual partners or with another sexually transmitted disease causing genital ulcers.

Prevention: Use safe sexual practices, avoid sharing drug paraphernalia, and screen blood and tissue products to prevent transmission.

Recent Washington trends: Statewide, annual HIV case counts have been stable over the past decade. Between 550 and 600 people are newly diagnosed with HIV infection each year. About one in three cases is diagnosed late in the course of his or her HIV illness, or develops AIDS within 12 months of HIV diagnosis. HIV rates are highest among gay and bisexual men, as well as racial or ethnic minorities.

2010: 551 cases were reported (8.2/100,000 population). View a current report on HIV/AIDS statistics in Washington State.

Purpose of Reporting and Surveillance

  • To assess trends in epidemic patterns, understand the impact of the burden of disease on populations and the health care infrastructure, and better target population-level disease prevention efforts
  • To assure the referral for treatment of infected individuals in order to reduce infectiousness and prevent Opportunistic Diseases
  • To identify cases in a timely fashion in order to interrupt the chain of infection through patient-level interventions such as management of sexual contacts and behavioral risk reduction counseling

Legal Reporting Requirements

  • Health care providers: AIDS and HIV infection notifiable to local health jurisdiction within 3 working days
  • Health care facilities: AIDS and HIV infection notifiable to local health jurisdiction within 3 working days
  • Laboratories:
    • a.) For HIV, positive Western blot assays, p24 antigen or viral culture tests are notifiable within 2 workdays to Public Health-Seattle&King County (PHSKC) for labs in King County and the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) for labs outside of King County. All results, whether they are positive or not detectable, on HIV nucleic acid tests (RNA or DNA) are notifiable on a monthly basis

    • b.) All CD4+ absolute counts and percentage of total lympocytes comprised by CD4+ lymphocytes are notifiable on a monthly basis

  • Local health jurisdictions: notifiable to WA Department of Health within 7 calendar days of case investigation completion or summary information required within 21 calendar days of notification

Last update
December 2011