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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - International Journal of STD & AIDS
Title The utility of population-based surveys to describe the continuum of HIV services for key and general populations
Volume 27
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
Page numbers 5-12
URL http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0956462415581728
Monitoring the cascade or continuum of HIV services – ranging from outreach services to anti-retroviral treatment – has become increasingly important as the focus in prevention moves toward biomedical interventions, in particular, ‘Treatment as Prevention.’ The HIV continuum typically utilises clinic-based care and treatment monitoring data and helps identify gaps and inform programme improvements. This paper discusses the merits of a population-based survey-informed continuum of services. Surveys provide individual-level, population-based data by sampling persons both in and outside the continuum, which facilitate the estimation of population fractions, such as the proportion of people living with HIV in care, as well as the examination of determinants for being in or outside the continuum. Survey-informed cascades of services may especially benefit key populations at increased risk for HIV infection for who social marginalisation, criminalisation, and stigma result in barriers to access and retention in services, a low social visibility, mobility, and outreach-based services can compromise clinic-based monitoring. Adding CD4+ T-cell count and viral load measurements to such surveys may provide population-level information on viral load suppression, stage of disease, treatment needs, and population-level transmission potential. While routine clinic-based reporting will remain the mainstay of monitoring, a survey-informed service cascade can address some of its limitations and offer additional insights.

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