|Looking Deeper into the HIV Epidemic - A questionnaire for tracing sexual networks (UNAIDS, 1998, 24 p.)|
The sexual network questionnaire appended hereto is similar in many respects to the prevention indicators questionnaire , the primary difference is that the new module asks for considerably more detail about each relationship the survey respondent participates in. While UNAIDS still enthusiastically endorses the use of the earlier package, especially for evaluating national programmes, the need for more insights into sexual networks for understanding the dynamics of the epidemic has become apparent.
This new questionnaire is part of an attempt to gain those insights - it is recommended for use in countries where managers of AIDS programmes and researchers are primarily interested in gaining additional information on sexual mixing patterns for intervention purposes.
Population surveys have a central and valuable role to play in the measurement of two of the main determinants of the rate of HIV transmission: number of sexual partners and use of condoms during sexual intercourse. Measurement of these determinants over time is crucial for the evaluation of prevention programmes.
In recognition of that fact, WHO/GPA developed in 1994 a package entitled Evaluation of a national AIDS programme: A methods package-1. Prevention of HIV infection .
Among the array of methods to measure HIV/AIDS prevention-related indicators, a central place was given to repeated population surveys as a tool for better understanding of the sexual risk behaviours in the general population and of the impact of programme activities on those risk behaviours.
The GPA package gives a comprehensive overview of the design of population surveys and of the necessary steps to be undertaken in the planning of such surveys. There is detailed discussion of objectives; measurement of selected prevention indicators; questionnaire content and design; sampling; training of field staff and collection of data; data management, analysis and reporting; survey timetables; and in-country survey costs.
The methods package, including the population survey, has been used extensively over the four years since it was published. More than 30 countries have carried out geographically focused population surveys for evaluation purposes, while some 60 countries have used other parts of the package for evaluation of their own national programmes [2, 3]. This effort is expected to continue with the support of UNAIDS, cosponsors and bilateral and multilateral agencies. In particular, UNAIDS is encouraging repeated surveys that would allow monitoring of behaviour change over time.
National AIDS programmes around the world are currently using epidemiological fact sheets in which the prevention indicators are an essential element.