A new report outlines the need for a different approach to tracking data to guide decisions that shape responses to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

"Critical and expensive decisions made with incomplete data are undermining the response--even as the systems for collecting this data continue to improve," contend report authors from the Foundation for AIDS Research and the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition.

The report, supported in part by the M•A•C AIDS Fund, makes the case that if ambitious new targets to end the epidemic by 2030 are to be achieved, the quality of data itself must get better.

The report documents many cases where data is incomplete or missing, finding that sometimes necessary data collection systems are not even in place. For example, in most low- and middle- income countries there is very little tracking of viral load -- a measure of the amount of HIV in a person’s bloodstream -- among people being treated for HIV. In many cases, the authors say, data exists but is incomplete or not being optimally analyzed.

The full report, which calls for implementation of vital data including coverage of core interventions, disaggregated data by gender, age, and other key demographic characteristics, and results-linked expenditure data, is available here.

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