Where the action is: monitoring local trends in sexual behaviour
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Author(s): Weir SS, Tate JE, Zhusupov B, Boerma JT
Objectives: To assess the role in an overall monitoring strategy of the PLACE method of estimating local trends in sexual behaviour among individuals at social venues in areas at increased risk of HIV transmission. Methods: Public venues identified by community informants as places where people meet new sexual partners were visited and characterised in Karaganda, Kazakhstan, in 2002 and 2003, and in a township in South Africa in 2000 and 2003. At a subset of venues, a representative sample of individuals socialising at the venue were interviewed about their sexual behaviour. The age distribution and partnerships rates of those socialising at these venues were compared by year and with national data from Kazakhstan and South Africa obtained via household surveys. Results: Women and men socialising at venues were younger and had higher rates of new and concurrent partnerships than men and women interviewed in national household surveys. There was little apparent change in sexual behaviour between 2002 and 2003 in Karaganda. In the South African township, there was a reduction in sexual partnerships and an increase in condom use, possibly due to a local AIDS prevention programme. Conclusion: Findings from the PLACE method supplement national data on sexual behaviours with data from key populations in high transmission areas, inform local targeting of interventions, and, when subsequent rounds of PLACE are implemented, can evaluate change in target populations.
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