HIV Care Continuum

What is Care Continuum?

The HIV Care Continuum, previously known as a Treatment Cascade, was first released in 2012 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It represents the sequential stages of HIV care, from being diagnosed with HIV to suppressing the HIV virus through treatment. Ideally, the Care Continuum describes a seamless system of HIV prevention and care services, in which people living with HIV (PLWH) receive the full benefit of HIV treatment by being diagnosed, linked to care, retained in care, and taking HIV medications as prescribed to achieve viral suppression.

The Houston Care Continuum (HCC)

The HCC is a diagnosis-based continuum. The HCC reflects the number of PLWH who have been diagnosed (“HIV diagnosed”); and among the diagnosed, the numbers and proportions of PLWH with records of engagement in HIV care (“Met Need”), retention in care (“Retained in Care”), and viral suppression (“Virally Suppressed”) within a calendar year. Although retention in care is a significant factor for PLWH to achieve viral suppression, ‘Virally Suppressed’ also includes those PLWH in the Houston EMA whose most recent viral load test of the calendar year was less than 200 copies/ml, but who did not have evidence of retention in care. The following data includes a breakdown of the HIV Care Continuum by Age, Sex at Birth, Current Gender, Race by Gender, and Transmission Risk.

Data Source: Bureau of Epidemiology and Bureau of HIV/STD and Viral Hepatitis Prevention, Houston Health Department, 2020

*Transmission risk factors that are associated with increased risk of HIV exposure and transmission include men who have sex with men (MSM), people who inject drugs (PWID), MSM who also inject drugs (MSM/PWID), and heterosexual exposure.

*Met Need: Among PLWH who have been diagnosed, met need represents the numbers and proportions of PLWH with records of engagement in HIV care.