Molecular HIV Surveillance

HIV Molecule

People living with HIV, advocates, and policymakers are assessing how to utilize the benefits of molecular surveillance technology while protecting privacy and preventing misuse of information by the criminal legal system, and in particular the consequences arising from HIV stigma and criminalization. 

Molecular HIV surveillance is the use of resistance-testing results to identify PLHIV with related viral strains to determine sexual and needle-sharing networks. Molecular surveillance data is collected by doctors and analyzed by state and local public health officials as well as scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

In 2017, the CDC announced a five-year program requiring states to collect and share personal health care information collected by doctors, known as molecular surveillance data, for analysis by state and local public health officials as well as scientists at the CDC. However, public health officials have not explained why collecting molecular surveillance data is necessary or how it will be used, causing concern about the widespread implementation of these technologies.