Online Program

Implementing bio-behavioral surveillance HIV/AIDS studies among the latin American uniformed services: Lessons learned from the field

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 5:30 p.m. - 5:45 p.m.

Alice Douglas, MPH, CAI, New York, NY
Issues: Members of the armed forces, at elevated risk for inconsistent access to condoms and sexual health services, are at greater risk for HIV/STI infection. As part of a regional Latin American HIV prevention effort, bio-behavioral surveillance studies (BBSS) are implemented to assess HIV prevalence and identify risk factors for HIV/STI to aid countries in programmatic and policy planning. Description: To date, a BBSS has been conducted in eight countries; 6,891 participants from both military and police forces were sampled on 103 bases; 90% were male; the average age was 28. Serological data was acquired through rapid HIV tests; behavioral data was obtained using audio computer-assisted self-interview (ACASI). Daily logs were maintained documenting observations. Lessons Learned: Facilitators to study implementation included: 1) involving high-ranked retired members within the target population to assist with study implementation and address potential political challenges, 2) conducting preliminary meetings to clarify study details and responsibilities, 3) relying on country-based experts for issues on customs, travel and accommodation to navigate local policies, and 4 ) collaborating with local project staff in disseminating results, thus bolstering their sense of contribution and study ownership. Challenges to implementation included: 1) managing the dynamics of a complex team composed of military hierarchy, local and external stakeholders, and 2) motivating voluntary troop participation in countries where knowledge and awareness of HIV is relatively low. Recommendations: While impossible to predict all obstacles that arise during international surveillance studies, using these lessons learned will assist future research endeavors in reducing implementation barriers.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify barriers and facilitators to implementation of bio-behavioral surveillance HIV/AIDS studies in multiple Latin American countries.

Keyword(s): International Public Health, HIV/AIDS

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Alice Douglas, MPH, serves as Study Coordinator at Cicatelli Associate, Inc. She holds a Masters Degree in Public Health in Population and Family Health from Columbia University. Ms. Douglas has experience working in diverse public health settings, including hospitals, non-profit organizations, universities, and governmental agencies. In this capacity, Ms. Douglas leads the design and implementation of bio-behavioral baseline studies assessing prevalence of HIV and sexual risk behaviors amongst uniformed service personnel in the Latin America.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.