Building the Fulton County Strategy to End AIDS: Methodology | Print |

The primary undertaking of the Task Force is to develop and monitor a comprehensive Strategy to End AIDS in Fulton County. The Strategy, when complete, will consist of clear goals and objectives, and achievable action plans that can subsequently guide promotion, implementation, monitoring and reassessment over time.

The Strategy aligns with the primary goals of the 2020 National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS):

  • To reduce new HIV infections
  • To increase access to care and improve health outcomes so people living with HIV/AIDS can lead healthy, long lives
  • To reduce HIV-related health care disparities
  • To achieve a more coordinated response to HIV/AIDS

The Strategy is being built in three phases. To balance the urgent need for such a Strategy with the necessity of careful thought, data collection and broad-based input, the first phase, released on World AIDS Day 2015, included only draft objectives. This Phase II document contains objectives and recommended actions for achieving the objectives. Phase III will include resource analysis and gap analysis for the objectives and actions, including timelines and annual targets, where appropriate. The Phase III Strategy, including SMART objectives and specific action plans with metrics and targets will be released in December 2016 in association with World AIDS Day. The Task Force created four committees and an Executive Committee, each charged with evaluating needs and developing objectives and action plans in areas of critical importance for the Strategy. Co-Chairs of the Task Force appointed the Committee Chairs. As part of this process, each committee is charged with conducting an inventory of current HIV/AIDS resources and activities in the area of focus and a gap analysis. The committees are as follows:

  1. Prevention and Care
    The Prevention and Care Committee is responsible for developing recommendations regarding HIV testing, prevention and care. Those recommendations include cross cutting structural issues related to the delivery of healthcare for persons at risk for and living with HIV in Fulton County and the role of the FCDHW in HIV care and prevention in Fulton County.
  2. Social Determinants of Health
    The Social Determinants of Health Committee is responsible for developing recommendations regarding services that impact health but are not traditionally considered direct health services, such as housing and transportation.
  3. Data and Evaluation
    The Data and Evaluation Committee is responsible for identifying data sources and developing and advising on pragmatic and scientifically sound metrics for the objectives in the Strategy. The Committee also identifies areas where data systems need strengthening or enhanced coordination.
  4. Policy The Policy
    Committee is responsible for identifying policy needs to facilitate implementation of the Strategy, to reduce stigma and health care disparities and otherwise promote the health and wellbeing of persons with and at risk for HIV infection.

Community Input and Engagement

Policies and programs work best when they are based on the experiences of the people they are meant to serve. The Task Force encouraged feedback by creating many opportunities to engage in discussion and receive feedback. All meetings were open to the public, including monthly Task Force meetings and half-day Face-to-Face meetings focusing on key topics such as testing, prevention, linkage to and reengagement in care, retention in care, viral suppression, housing, food insecurity, job training, and stigma. Targeted meetings explored topics such as perinatal transmission, issues involving adolescents, and HIV and the Ballroom community. Beginning in 2015, dozens of listening sessions occurred with different population groups, including black gay and bisexual men and transgender women, people who use drugs or are in recovery, veterans, and women, and with general populations in diverse settings, such as Neighborhood Planning Units, the Alpharetta Public Library, and a church health fair. Two rounds of online surveys were distributed, one to identify key objectives, and one to assist in prioritizing them.

Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation

Evaluation will require annual targets and metrics for measuring progress toward meeting objectives and implementing actions. During the process of building the Strategy, the Data and Evaluation team found that some data sources are entirely lacking or incomplete for measuring outcomes of objectives and actions. No baseline data are available for some objectives, while for others, including many of the social determinants data, are outdated and only available for selected populations (usually, persons receiving services supported by Ryan 8 White Part A funding). In these cases, development of data sources and accumulation of baseline data become action items. A full evaluation plan will accompany Phase III of the Strategy.