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

2.3 Tracking behaviour improves programme evaluation

A good behavioural data collection system can give a picture of changes in sexual and drug-taking behaviour over time, both in the general population and in vulnerable subpopulations. The system will record a reduction in risky sex just as it will record persistent risk behaviour or shifts in the pattern of risk. These changes can provide an indication of the success of the overall package of activities aimed at promoting safe behaviour and reducing the spread of HIV, both in the general population and in specific vulnerable subpopulations.

Showing that behaviour can and does change following national efforts to reduce risky sex and drug taking is essential to building support for ongoing prevention activities. However, while behavioural data can help evaluators document these changes, it is important to realise that it can not show a direct causal link between an intervention and a particular level of behaviour change. Most people are exposed to many sources of information and make decisions based on many - and complex - criteria. Information or activities provided as part of a prevention programme will contribute to what people decide and how they behave, but there may be many other factors in the equation. Reported behavioural data alone rarely make it possible to isolate and attribute change to a single component of a programme.