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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration
HIV/AIDS Programs

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Severity of Need (SON) Index - Draft of SON Index - Criteria & Sources of Information

Criteria for Inclusion

In order to be included in the SON Index, variables were required to be:

  • Measured in all jurisdictions
  • Regularly updated
  • Measured consistently across jurisdictions

Data Sources

Items in the index also have very strong data from the following sources:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Living HIV & AIDS cases reported to and confirmed by the CDC as well as AIDS prevalence estimates (Please note: Also included are HIV code based data gathered directly from States, with the application of a 5% reduction in cases as required by law)
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) labor costs in terms of wages for medical staff
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rent values
  • Social Security Administration (SSA) (e.g., data on Medicaid and Medicare)
  • U.S. Census poverty data, total population data

Measures in the Index are either:

  • Direct measures, meaning their impact on costs can be directly estimated, such as medical costs; or
  • Indirect measures, meaning their impact on costs are expected but insufficient data exist to estimate the exact impact. Examples include poverty, and outcome indicators of program performance that indirectly measure need, such as the death rate.