The Prevention and Screening Unit, one of two service areas in the Office of HIV/AIDS (OHA), is tasked with developing and sustaining contractual relationships with a network of clinic-and-community-based organizations delivering a range of prevention and screening services for HIV, viral hepatitis, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) prevention, as well as treatment services for STDs. Through contract awards with organizations throughout the state, providers offer integrated, low-threshold, effective, and evidenced-based interventions and screening services delivered to client population groups and individuals at risk of HIV, STD, and viral hepatitis infections and acquisition.

Prevention and screening services funded through the Unit are delivered using an integrated prevention and screening service model. Emphasis is placed on more comprehensive and targeted approaches to preventing new infections. Screening, counseling, and STD treatment services are paired with evidence-based practices and interventions to ensure individual and populations recognize their personal risk and implement plans for militating them. Through this integrated approach, the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Screening Unit aims to achieve the following goals: to reduce the levels of HIV risk behavior among prioritized client population groups; to reduce the incidence of new HIV infections; to increase access to, and frequency of, HIV and STI screening services; to address the complex factors that contribute to risk; and assist HIV-positive individuals will the full array of preventative and care options to maximize their health status.

Primary activity of the Unit includes the procurement, management, and support of awarded organizations with clinic and community based organizations through program development, training, and specialized capacity building assistance. The statewide network of awarded organizations is highly specialized and varied services are strategically placed in a variety of clinical and non-clinical settings throughout the Commonwealth. This positioning is based on relevant epidemiologic data, as well as assessment of the prevention needs of the communities within these regions. Particular emphasis is placed on ensuring access to a wide scope of services, including mental health, gay men's and women's health, substance use treatments, and prevention programs, and organizations devoted to serving particular ethnic and cultural communities. The Unit continues to actively respond to national and local trends through specialized initiates to curb HIV risk in communities disproportionately represented in HIV/AIDS incidence data. Unit services are guided by the Massachusetts Comprehensive HIV Prevention Plan developed by the Massachusetts HIV Prevention Planning Group (MPPG) and recommendations from the Statewide Consumer Advisory Board (SWCAB).

This information is provided by the Bureau of Infectious Disease within the Department of Public Health.