Cover Image
close this bookMeeting the Behavioural Data Collection Needs of National HIV/AIDS and STD Programmes (Implementing AIDS Prevention and Care Project - Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS - United States Agency for International Development, 1998, 41 p.)
close this folder2. Why track behaviour?
View the document(introduction...)
View the document2.1 Behavioural data serves as an early warning system for HIV and STDs
View the document2.2 Behavioural data informs effective programme design and direction
View the document2.3 Tracking behaviour improves programme evaluation
View the document2.4 Changes in behaviour help explain changes in HIV prevalence
View the document2.5 Behavioural data can help explain variations in prevalence

2.2 Behavioural data informs effective programme design and direction

A country monitoring the HIV epidemic is doing so because it wants to slow the spread of the virus through effective prevention programmes. Effective prevention is prevention that enables people to adopt safer behaviours and protect themselves from the risk behaviour of their partners. But effective prevention requires more than just knowing who is at risk. It also requires understanding why they engage in risk behaviour, motivating them to reduce their risk, developing their prevention knowledge and skills, improving their access to the means of prevention in ways that are appropriate and accessible to them, and providing a supportive social and policy environment for behaviour change. These requirements create a strong need for qualitative data to illuminate and clarify the determinants of risk in specific subpopulations and situations. Unless the context and forms of risk behaviour are well understood in each specific vulnerable subpopulation or risk situation, it is not possible to provide and effectively support relevant safe alternative behaviours. Thus, behavioural research data can help communities and programme planners design initiatives carefully focused on breaking the links in the chain of transmission in a particular country, region, or group.

In addition, behavioural research data can quantitatively indicate who is most at risk of contracting or passing on HIV infection, and why. Such data can document levels of risk in specific communities that may be particularly vulnerable to rapid HIV spread or identify characteristics of individuals who may have higher risk, allowing prevention efforts to be prioritised and directed so as to have the greatest impact.