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Program Science: an initiative to improve the planning, implementation and evaluation of HIV/sexually transmitted infection prevention programmes
  1. James F Blanchard1,
  2. Sevgi O Aral2
  1. 1Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  2. 2Division of STD Prevention, The National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  1. Correspondence to Professor James F Blanchard, Centre for Global Public Health, Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, R070 Med Rehab Building, 771 McDermot Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3E 0T6, Canada; james_blanchard{at}umanitoba.ca

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Three decades into the emergence of the HIV epidemic, centuries into the appearance of other sexually transmitted infections (STI), and despite the development of many efficacious individual, group and structural level interventions, it is clear that advances made in the prevention of HIV and other STI have not been sufficient to get ahead of these epidemics.1–4 As in other spheres of public health and health service delivery, consensus emerged that central to this problem was insufficient use of scientific evidence in planning and delivering interventions.5 To address this gap, health programme planners and implementers were encouraged to adopt ‘evidence-based approaches’ by pulling in evidence from the scientific literature and experts to inform their decision making. Increasingly, scientists have been encouraged to engage in knowledge translation to ensure that the findings from their research is being made known to policy makers, planners and implementers to guide better decisions.6

While reinforcing the need to close the gap between evidence and action, there is growing sentiment that current concepts and approaches for doing so are inadequate, and new paradigms are needed. In a recent article Parkhurst and colleagues7 pointed to a flaw in basic conceptual basis of knowledge translation. They argue that the usual paradigm of ‘getting research into practice’ by first developing ‘clear agreed-on evidence’ about interventions and then pushing …

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