This week, Dr. Howard Koh, our Assistant Secretary for Health, unveiled critical health priorities for the nation known as “Leading Health Indicators” (LHIs). I am very pleased to point out that these important national indicators include an HIV-related measure. Announced at the 138th Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association, the LHIs are a smaller set of Healthy People 2020 objectives selected to communicate high-priority health issues and actions that can be taken to address them. Among the 26 prioritized LHIs organized under 12 topics is this measure: Persons living with HIV who know their serostatus.
“The LHIs are a call to action in critical public health areas that demand our immediate attention,” said Dr. Koh. “We can solve the most pressing health problems in this country, and the LHIs prioritize our actions for a healthier future.”
The LHIs will be used to assess the health of the U.S. population over the next decade, to facilitate collaboration among diverse groups, and to motivate individuals and communities to take action to improve their health. The LHIs also will be used by policymakers and public health professionals to track progress in local communities as they work toward meeting these key national health goals.
Our efforts to work towards the National HIV/AIDS Strategy’s goals are strengthened and reinforced by the inclusion of this measure among the LHIs because the indicators help communicate high-priority health issues to the public and actions that can be taken to address them. The indicator sets a target of 90 percent of persons aged 13 years and older living with HIV who are aware of their HIV infection, working from a baseline of 79 percent in 2006. The nation’s efforts will be monitored by CDC’s HIV surveillance system.
The Healthy People 2020 Federal Interagency Workgroup worked in collaboration with the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for 2020 to develop the LHIs. They also align with and further promote key priorities across the Department and Federal government, including the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, and National Prevention Strategy.