Allen DR, Finlayson T, Abdul-Quader A, Lansky A. The role of formative research in the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System

Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA.
Public Health Reports (Impact Factor: 1.55). 01/2009; 124(1):26-33.
Source: PubMed


The National Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Behavioral Surveillance System (NHBS) is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) newest system for measuring HIV risk behaviors among three adult populations at highest risk for HIV infection in the U.S.: men who have sex with men, injecting drug users, and heterosexuals at risk of HIV infection. The system is implemented by state and local health departments in designated metropolitan statistical areas with the highest HIV/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) prevalence in the U.S. Prior to implementing the behavioral surveillance survey, project sites conduct a series of formative research activities. The data collected during this preparatory phase provide contextual information about HIV risk behaviors within the study population of interest and help project sites make decisions about field operations and other logistical issues. This article describes the activities undertaken in preparation for the first round of NHBS (2003-2007) and how those activities enhanced data collection for each behavioral surveillance cycle.

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    • "ormative research methodologies can meet these objectives . Formative research is the systematic and formal process by which researchers or public health practitioners define the population of interest , ways to access that population and attributes of the population relevant to the specific public health issue of interest ( Higgins et al . 1996 ; Allen et al . 2009 ) . Techniques such as focus - group discussions ( FGDs ) , key - informant interviews ( KIIs ) and direct observation are used to explore key aspects of RDS such as network structures , acceptability of RDS to the population , seed selection and survey logistics ( Simic et al . 2006 ; Johnston et al . 2010 ) . For studying network stru"
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    • "They also underscore the importance of integrating into our surveillance systems thoughtful measurement of both mental health indicators, including suicide-related morbidity and mortality, and markers of sexual orientation. As an example, currently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States assesses homosexual behavior in its surveillance of HIV and other sexual transmitted diseases [53]. This is an effort to reduce morbidity and mortality among gay and bisexual men, a vulnerable population for acquiring sexually transmitted diseases. "
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