The island of Hispaniola, which comprises the Dominican Republic and Haiti, accounts for almost three-quarters of HIV infections in the entire Caribbean region. According to UNAIDS, 0.8 percent of adults in the Dominican Republic are infected. Rates vary greatly within the country, however, with the highest prevalence among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people (from 3.9% to 6.9%) and for female sex workers (FSW) (from 1.7% to 6.3%), according to the (Dominican Republic) President’s Council on AIDS (COPRESIDA), now known as CONAVIHSIDA, which coordinates the country’s HIV/AIDS strategy.
MEASURE Evaluation has conducted a Priorities for Local AIDS Control Efforts (PLACE) study to identify locations where prevention programs could most readily reach those at greatest risk of becoming infected. At the request of the USAID Mission, a series of PLACE studies was carried out in selected areas within 13 of the 31 provinces in collaboration with local research partners. Those studies were not designed to provide national or provincial estimates of key populations, but MEASURE Evaluation has now been asked to address that gap.
The work will provide national and provincial-level estimates of key populations (MSM, FSW, people living with HIV [PLHIV] and transgender people) that will contribute data to inform local and regional organizations for program planning and implementation. It will also enhance the capacity of local and regional organizations to conduct such research by including them from the protocol design phase through data collection.
The study strategy will be to include data from a sample of the 18 provinces that were not previously investigated or use an algorithm and various data sources to extrapolate previously collected data to these provinces, or both. In general, provinces where no PLACE data already exist are those that do not contain primary urban centers and are not known for high levels of tourism.
Under Phase III, MEASURE Evaluation worked with CONAVIHSIDA and USAID to improve the country’s HIV monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems.