A Pilot Study of a Rapid Assessment Method to Identify Areas for AIDS Prevention in Cape Town, South Africa

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Author(s): Weir S S, Morroni C, Coetzee N, Spencer J, Boerma J T

Year: 2001

We developed the rapid method described in this paper and pilot tested in a township in Cape Town to determine whether a place-focus rather than an individual focus could take advantage of geographical clustering of STD/HIV transmission and maximize utility for fielding interventions. The following principles guided our approach: A synthesis of available demographic and epidemiologic contextual data could provide sufficient information to identify areas most likely to have partnership formation patterns capable of spreading and maintaining infection; Within these HTAs, a primary focus should be among those with highest rates of new partnership formation because they have a disproportionate role in the epidemic; To minimize bias, the method should not primarily rely on self-reported behavior, contact tracing, or naming of sexual partners. Nor should it require information about self-reported behavior, except to validate information obtained in other ways; The method should be feasibly implemented in a short period of time without on-site involvement of outside technical experts; and The method should provide program indicators useful for intervention monitoring. Based on these principles, we developed a rapid assessment method to identify and describe a high transmission area and indicators useful for AIDS prevention programming.

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