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2. Behavioral Surveillance

July 8, 2020 @ 12:00 am UTC+0

Behavioral surveillance is a surveillance tool designed to track trends in HIV-related knowledge, attitudes and behaviors in populations at risk of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Behavioural surveillance is defined as ongoing systematic collection, analysis and interpretation of behavioural data relevant to understanding trends in the transmission of HIV and STIs. In low level and concentrated HIV epidemics, surveillance systems for HIV should rely to the large extent on behavioral data as they help us to understand the potential dynamics of HIV and STI epidemics.  Behavioral surveillance for HIV includes cross-sectional surveys in the general population and surveys in specific sub-populations that are at higher risk for HIV. Behavioural data collection is usually part of integrated bio-behavioural surveys (IBBS).  Sampling methods for hidden populations  are usually quasi-representative, such as respondent-driven sampling (RDS) and time-location sampling (TLS).  


Learning objectives

The aim of this course is to introduce the participants to behavioural surveillance in the broader frame of HIV  surveillance. It provides an overview of tools used for conducting studies of sexual and drug-related risk behaviours. Participants will be familiarised with probability and non-probability sampling, as well as with qualitative methods used to conduct formative research and pre-surveillance assessment. Basic levels of analysis typical in behavioural surveillance will be covered – from distribution of single behaviours in a population, examining trends over time, to more complicated analysis that involve relationships among multiple variables. The participants will learn how to initiate, inform, and improve HIV prevention programmes using behavioural data. The course also addresses the importance of ethics in behavoural surveillance.


Key topics

  • What is behavioural surveillance  and why behavioural data are needed
  • Key behavioural indicators needed for interpretation of HIV epidemics
  • Uses and advantages of behavioural surveillance
  • Behavioural questionnaire in HIV, STI and viral hepatitis surveillance
  • Selecting population groups
  • Sampling approaches: probability and non-probability sampling designs
  • Analysis and interpretation of results
  • From data to strategic information: Use and dissemination of behavioural information to improve HIV prevention efforts


Teaching Methods

The course consists of lectures, exercises and presentations. Interactive methods (e.g. group work, brainstorming) will be used to encourage full participation from attendees. Participants will be encouraged to reflect upon and apply their learning to their own country settings and to share their experiences with others


Target Audience

Epidemiologists, social scientists, public health professionals.



  • Institute for Global Health, University of California, San Francisco, USA
  • Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Zagreb


This course was held in:

  •  Zagreb, Croatia
  •  Erbil, Iraq


July 8, 2020
12:00 am UTC+0
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