Sex Transm Infect 80:ii1-ii7 doi:10.1136/sti.2004.013151

Monitoring sexual behaviour in general populations: a synthesis of lessons of the past decade

  1. J Cleland1,
  2. J T Boerma2,
  3. M Carael4,
  4. S S Weir3
  1. 1Centre for Population Studies, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  2. 2World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland
  3. 3MEASURE Evaluation, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
  4. 4UNAIDS, Geneva, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr J G Cleland
 Centre for Population Studies, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, 49–51 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3DP, UK;
  • Accepted 27 September 2004


This supplement contains selected papers from a workshop on the measurement of sexual behaviour in the era of HIV/AIDS held at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in September 2003. The focus was on low and middle income countries, where the majority of HIV infections occur. The motive for holding such a meeting is easy to discern. As the AIDS pandemic continues to spread and as prevention programmes are scaling up, the need to monitor trends in sexual risk behaviours becomes ever more pressing. Behavioural data are an essential complement to biological evidence of changes in HIV prevalence or incidence. Biological evidence, though indispensable, is by itself insufficient for policy and programme guidance. AIDS control programmes need to be based on monitoring of not only trends in infections but also of trends in those behaviours that underlie epidemic curtailment or further spread.