CDC contract to expand its HIV/AIDS database

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month tapped Analytical Sciences Inc. (ASI) to establish a national database to distribute timely information about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV, to medical facilities nationwide.

CDC awarded ASI a five-year, $33 million contract to build the Prevention Information Network (PIN), which will expand an HIV/AIDS database that Aspen Systems Corp. built and maintained under a $47 million contract CDC awarded in 1991. PIN will offer state and local health departments, hospitals and community-based organizations information not only on HIV but also other STDs, tuberculosis and, in the future, other diseases.

"These are all diseases of considerable concern and impact to the American public," said Kenneth Williams, CDC's project director for PIN. "Once this system is up and running, it will be the most comprehensive information collection and dissemination system within the federal government."

Expansion Plan

ASI, a small business, will expand on Aspen's original HIV/AIDS database, which consisted of preventive educational material and provider services in communities nationwide, to include databases on resources and services, funding and daily news. PIN's educational database will consist of 600 approved CDC publications, and the resource and services database will include about 19,000 records of state and local organ-izations that provide AIDS services at health departments, hospitals and community-based organizations. The funding and opportunities database will contain 500 records at any one time on grants and contracts that public and private groups offer state and local organizations, research institutions and hospitals. These institutions can tap funds that can, among other things, pay for computers, telephones or other equipment to access PIN. In addition, a daily news database will update scientific articles covering HIV, STDs and tuberculosis.

To help curb the spread of HIV, Williams said PIN will not only serve high-end users such as hospitals and research institutions but also communities that are technologically under-served and have few resources at their disposal.

To make PIN accessible for those communities, the system will be mostly Internet-based, said Donald A. Holzworth, president and chief executive officer of ASI.

PIN will be housed in new offices in Silver Spring, Md., and will consist of a local-area network made up of 40 to 50 Pentium computers. Jessee Milan, the ASI PIN program manager and a former director of the AIDS office for Philadelphia's Department of Public Health, said the new system will help local communities get the critical information they need to fund health programs.

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