Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



JMIR Public Health Surveillance








BACKGROUND: Triangulation of data from multiple sources such as clinical cohort and surveillance data can help improve our ability to describe care patterns, service utilization, comorbidities, and ultimately measure and monitor clinical outcomes among persons living with HIV infection.

OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to determine whether linkage of clinical cohort data and routinely collected HIV surveillance data would enhance the completeness and accuracy of each database and improve the understanding of care patterns and clinical outcomes.

METHODS: We linked data from the District of Columbia (DC) Cohort, a large HIV observational clinical cohort, with Washington, DC, Department of Health (DOH) surveillance data between January 2011 and June 2015. We determined percent concordance between select variables in the pre- and postlinked databases using kappa test statistics. We compared retention in care (RIC), viral suppression (VS), sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and non-HIV comorbid conditions (eg, hypertension) and compared HIV clinic visit patterns determined using the prelinked database (DC Cohort) versus the postlinked database (DC Cohort + DOH) using chi-square testing. Additionally, we compared sociodemographic characteristics, RIC, and VS among participants receiving HIV care at ≥3 sites versustesting.

RESULTS: Of the 6054 DC Cohort participants, 5521 (91.19%) were included in the postlinked database and enrolled at a single DC Cohort site. The majority of the participants was male, black, and had men who have sex with men (MSM) as their HIV risk factor. In the postlinked database, 619 STD diagnoses previously unknown to the DC Cohort were identified. Additionally, the proportion of participants with RIC was higher compared with the prelinked database (59.83%, 2678/4476 vs 64.95%, 2907/4476; P

CONCLUSIONS: Linking surveillance and clinical data resulted in the improved completeness of each database and a larger volume of available data to evaluate HIV outcomes, allowing for refinement of HIV care continuum estimates. The postlinked database also highlighted important differences between participants who sought HIV care at multiple clinical sites. Our findings suggest that combined datasets can enhance evaluation of HIV-related outcomes across an entire metropolitan area. Future research will evaluate how to best utilize this information to improve outcomes in addition to monitoring them.


Reproduced with permission of JMIR.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Peer Reviewed


Open Access