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"Pakistan is one of the few countries in the Asian region with recent and accurate data on injecting drug use related HIV which is essential for good program planning."
The four HIV survellance rounds completed by the "HIV and AIDS Survellance Project" (HASP: 2003 - 2011)) of the Government of Pakistan and supported by the Canadian Government have substantial data on size estimates and Integrated Behavioural & Biological Surveillance (IBBS) related to most at risk populations in Pakistan. Also in addition to various Rapid Situation Assessments of injecting related HIV in selected cities of Pakistan, there is current (2011- to date) data generated from the Nai Zindagi MIS (management information system) installed to manage and monitor the Global Fund program implementation and measuring current trends of HIV infection rates among people who inject drugs, their wives, intimate partners and children across Pakistan.
From 2003 to 2011 Canada and Pakistan built a system of collection, analysis and interpretation of information to track and describe changes in the HIV epidemic over time. Four surveillance rounds among key populations at risk of HIV in Pakistan (people who inject drugs, female sex workers, male sex workers and Hijira or transgender sex workers) were completed.
Surveillance rounds included in-depth mapping to estimate the sizes and locations of the key populations and included an in-depth behavioural questionnaire with biological testing for HIV.
Client Registration and Voluntary Confidential Counseling and Testing (VCCT) is an integral part of the package of services offered under the Global Fund Round 9 HIV grant.
This data in 'real-time' is regularly updated in the MIS and provides valuable information related to size estimates, locations, behavioural and HIV prevalence across Pakistan.
Follow up VCCT can also provide information related to new infections among clients accessing services in districts where programs have been established.
Operational research is an integral part of Nai Zindagi's program design and planning and assists in developing targeted interventions specific to the needs of program beneficiaries.
Rapid situational analysis, studies on HIV vulnerability of specific groups associated with people who inject drugs and assessments related to the uptake of HIV prevention services by beneficiaries, are essential.
This all adds to the rich pool of evidence necessary to plan and target quality interventions to prevent, halt and reverse the HIV epidemic in Pakistan.