Accurate case-based surveillance data remain the key data source for estimating HIV burden and monitoring prevention efforts in Europe. We carried out a literature review and exploratory analysis of surveillance data regarding two crucial issues affecting European surveillance for HIV: missing data and reporting delay. Initial screening showed substantial variability of these data issues, both in time and across countries. In terms of missing data, the CD4+ cell count is the most problematic variable because of the high proportion of missing values. In 20 of 31 countries of the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA), CD4+ counts are systematically missing for all or some years. One of the key challenges related to reporting delays is that countries undertake specific one-off actions in effort to capture previously unreported cases, and that these cases are subsequently reported with excessive delays. Slightly different underlying assumptions and effectively different models may be required for individual countries to adjust for missing data and reporting delays. However, using a similar methodology is recommended to foster harmonisation and to improve the accuracy and usability of HIV surveillance data at national and EU/EEA levels.
|Publication status||Published - 7 Jun 2018|