Integrated Biological and Behavioral Surveillance of Key Populations: A Toolkit for Implementation

By Annie Coriolan June 2, 2015

To support partner countries’ interest in Biological and Behavioral Surveillance Survey (BBSS) among key populations, NASTAD leveraged resources and knowledge derived from experience with the ongoing U.S. National HIV Behavior Survey to provide design and implementation support to partner ministries of health (MoH). To facilitate institutional knowledge transfer, and to aide other interested countries, NASTAD has developed the Integrated Biological and Behavioral Surveillance of Key Populations: A Toolkit for Implementation to present usable frameworks and resources related to BBSS design, implementation and data use.

HIV surveillance is crucial in reducing the HIV & AIDS epidemic and getting to zero. As described in the popular Peter Dreker quote: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” However, the focus should not solely be on recording and surveilling the epidemic, but also on the behaviors that drive the HIV & AIDS epidemic. High-risk behaviors should also be monitored in order to inform data-driven program design and implementation. Recognizing the need for a more comprehensive HIV surveillance approach, the World Health Organization and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) devised an HIV surveillance framework known as the Second Generation of HIV Surveillance (SGS). They define SGS as “the regular, systematic collection, analysis and interpretation of information for use in tracking and describing changes in the HIV/AIDS epidemic over time.” Bio-behavioral surveys are one of the component of SGS, and enable the use of risk behavior data to inform changes in HIV infection trends.

Findings from BBSS can help improve understanding of population-specific HIV prevalence and demographics—which is instrumental in planning and monitoring HIV prevention, outreach, and treatment and care programs. Biological and behavioral surveillance surveys are an effective method for capturing epidemiological data among key populations as they link behavioral and biological indicators to provide greater explanatory power than either method alone. This is particularly true when the surveillance activity is repeated to generate trend data.

The toolkit contains tools and templates to help plan for and conduct a BBSS. It can serve as a guide to MoH, National HIV Programs, National Surveillance Programs, and Public Health Administrators who desire to design and implement a BBSS.

The toolkit can be found here:

Integrated Biological and Behavioral Surveillance of Key Populations: A Toolkit for Implementation

To learn more about NASTAD Global Program’s work, please contact Luisa Pessoa-Brandão at lpessoa-brandao@NASTAD.org, or visit NASTAD.org/global.