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Making the Case with Strategic Information: A new resource for improved policy-making and planning for young key populations

Although HIV risk among adolescents and young people is well-documented, there is still a need for better strategic information on young people at higher risk of HIV exposure. Reliable strategic information, disaggregated by age, sex and other characteristics, including knowledge, risk behaviours, and use of services among these groups is crucial for informed programme planning and policy decision-making.

There are large gaps in strategic information on young people from key populations. While studies have been undertaken in many countries in the region (such as Bhutan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Pakistan), the varying research methodologies make comparative analysis difficult due to the non-homogeneity of the data. Moreover, many of these studies have insufficient sample sizes to enable generalizations about the total population of young key populations within the country.

Similarly, while there is considerable expertise in the region on survey and surveillance methodology for sampling and size estimates of key populations, the inclusion of young people (particularly those under 18) in these surveys is limited. Many young people with risk behaviours are not easily identified for inclusion in such surveys and surveillance, and legal restrictions (e.g. age of consent) in many countries further limit their participation.

To improve the collection and reporting of strategic information on young people from key populations, UNICEF, UNESCO, UNFPA and UNAIDS have published “Young Key Populations at Higher Risk of HIV in Asia and the Pacific: Making the Case with Strategic Information.”

The publication provides guidance on:
• Ethical issues including informed consent, staff training and support, and issues around biological testing;
• Building the case for strategic information using qualitative methods and existing data;
• Methodological considerations including sampling, survey design, population size estimations and other areas; and
• Dissemination and support for the use of strategic information.

The guidance was developed as one outcome of an experts meeting on Methodologies for Obtaining Strategic Information on Young People at Higher Risk of HIV Exposure, held in Bangkok, Thailand from 3-5 September 2012 .

It is designed to be used by national HIV and AIDS programme planners and managers and those working in local, national and international governmental and non-governmental organizations that commission, collect and use data about young key populations for advocacy, policy-making, and programming. Although the guidance focus on the Asia and Pacific region, it likely has wider global application and use.

View the Publication.