Background: Second generation surveillance for HIV aims to improve the validity and utility of routine serial HIV prevalence data. It includes the collection of data on sexual behaviour and sexually transmitted disease prevalence.
Methods: This paper reviews the function of sexual behaviour data in HIV surveillance and the methods used to determine which behaviours are monitored and how changes in behaviour can be assessed.
Results: Sexual behaviour data provide a poor predictor of the future spread of HIV, but these data can provide corroboration of changes in HIV incidence and assist in attributing changes to particular aspects of risk. Significance tests should be used to assess changes in behaviour, but this requires transparent reporting of methods and sample sizes.
Conclusions: Collection of behavioural data will provide important retrospective information about the HIV epidemic progress and should not be neglected because of the focus on improving HIV sero-surveillance.
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↵* On behalf of behavioural working group of UNAIDS Reference Group on Estimates Models and Projections: J M Garcia-Calleja, T Rehle, T Fowler, and N Grassly.
GPG thanks the MRC, Wellcome Trust and UNAIDS for Grant Support, SG thanks the Wellcome Trust for grant support.
Competing interests: none declared
Edited by N Walker, H Ward and R Miller
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