|Connecting Lower HIV Infection Rates with Changes in Sexual Behaviour in Thailand - Data collection and comparison (UNAIDS, 1998, 18 p.)|
Since the early days of the AIDS pandemic, people have talked about the need to change behaviours in order to slow the spread of HIV. Yet it has rarely been clearly demonstrated that behavioural change on a national scale actually does change the course of the epidemic. Epidemiologists and behavioural scientists have often found it difficult to track the spread of HIV across different populations and geographic areas. They have found it even more difficult to track the behaviours that fuel the epidemic. Perhaps the greatest challenge of all has been to establish links between behaviour and the spread of HIV on a national scale, and, more importantly, to show that changes in behaviour really can lead to reductions in the rate of new infections.
Policy-makers, the general public and communities affected by the epidemic need to see that investment in promoting behavioural change has paid off, not just in reducing risk behaviour but in cutting the number of new infections. A clear link between behavioural change and declining infection rates translates into clear support for continued prevention efforts.
Few countries are able to draw the link between behaviour and HIV infection as unambiguously as Thailand. This case study looks at the tools Thailand uses to track both the virus and the behaviours related to it. It describes trends in infection and behaviour recorded in Thailand, and shows links between the two. The case study also points to the importance of continued tracking of behaviour and infection to keep up with a constantly changing epidemic.
Full references for papers cited in this case study are listed in UNAIDS Best Practices Collection Key Material: "The relationship of HIV & STD declines in Thailand to behavioural change: a synthesis of existing studies".