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This study selected and field tested indicators to track changes in HIV prevention effectiveness in the USA.During 1996–1999, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention held two 2 day expert consultations with more than 80 national, state and local experts. A consensus-driven, evidence-based approach was used to select 70 indicators, which had to be derived from existing data, available in more than 25 states, and meaningful to state health officials in monitoring HIV. A literature review was performed for each indicator to determine general relevance, validity, and reliability. Two field tests in five US sites determined accessibility, feasibility, and usefulness.The final 37 core indicators represent four categories: biological, behavioral, services, and socio-political. Specific indicators reflect the epidemic and associated risk factors for men who have sex with men, injection drug users, heterosexuals at high risk, and childbearing women.Despite limitations, the indicators sparked the regular, proactive integration and review of monitoring data, facilitating a more effective use of data in HIV prevention community planning.