4. Implications for data collection methods
Ideally, for a better understanding of the nature of these
networks, information should be collected on every sexually active person and
every relationship in the population at risk. This would require respondents to
identify their partners so that each partnership could be uniquely identified.
That approach would raise serious issues with regard not only to practicability
but also to privacy and confidentiality.
By contrast, local network data require only information
collected from a representative sample of respondents on selected attributes for
each sexual partner in a given period. This is the approach that is proposed in
the new UNAIDS sexual networks