Tuesday 07 April 2020

M2: Behavioral Surveillance

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. Yet, many behavioral aspects of the HIV epidemic remain incompletely documented and poorly understood. 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 surveys enable identification of sub-populations at risk and setting up serosurveillance systems where they can yield maximum information about the epidemic. Behavioural surveillance systems should use a consistent sampling strategy in multiple rounds of data collection in order to produce valid estimates of changes in HIV behaviours over time and across geographical areas.

Learning objectives

The aim of this course is to introduce the participants to behavioural surveillance in the broader frame of HIV/AIDS surveillance. It will provide 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 surveillance data. The course also addresses the importance ethical issues in behavoural surveillance.

Key topics

  • What is behavioural surveillance  and why behavioural data are needed
  • Behavioural surveillance surveys as component of HIV surveillance
  • Uses and advantages of behavioural surveillance
  • Overview of behavioural surveillance in Europe
  • Steps in setting up behavioural 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.


The course takes place in five days.


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

Download the Programme:

Programme - Behavioral Surveillance.doc

Created by hrvo.je.