Research institutions to conduct surveillance of segments at risk of HIV

M. Waqar Bhatti
Friday, May 26, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Two research institutions - Progressive Development Initiative (PDI) and Health Science Academy (HSA) - will jointly conduct the 6th round of Integrated Biological and Behavioural Surveillance (IBBS) for mapping and population size estimation (PSE) of six key populations at higher risk of contracting HIV.

Vice Chancellor, HSA Prof Shahzad Ali Khan told The News that key populations include people who inject drugs (PWIDs), male sex workers (MSWs) and men having sex with men (MSMs), transgender sex workers (TGSWs) and transgender (TGs), female sex workers (FSWs).

“We will also estimate the prevalence of HIV Hep B & C, Syphilis, and STIs, the incidence of HIV, injection and sexual risk behaviours, contextual challenges with respect to the key populations, and assess the coverage and gaps in current services to provide strategic guidance for targeted services needed”, he informed. Prof. Khan said the objectives of the IBBS is to estimate the population size through geographic and network mapping of six key populations in the targeted cities, semiurban, and rural areas selected for the project and extrapolate them to the district, provincial and national level.

“We would also be finding out the prevalence of HIV, HBV, HCV, and syphilis and HIV testing among each of the seven key populations including prisoners and to assess the HIV continuum of care among the member of seven key populations who tested positive for HIV in the survey”, he informed.

“We would also be looking into the stigma, discrimination, and physical, sexual, and other forms of violence against the six key populations in the study and measure the knowledge on understanding modes of transmission, preferred service providers, and unmet service needs among the seven key populations under study,” he added.