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The World Health Organization (WHO) has released new guidelines recommending simplified indicators to measure the reach of HIV services, and the impact achieved at both the national and global levels. The new consolidated strategic information guidelines for HIV in the health sector are being launched at the third HIV surveillance consultation starting today in Bangkok, Thailand. The guidelines were developed in partnership with the Global Fund, UNAIDS, UNICEF and the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
The new consolidated guidelines recommend the use of 10 global indicators to collect information along the cascade of HIV care and treatment as a principal way to track epidemics and responses. These indicators are:
1.Number of people living with HIV
3.Coverage of prevention services
4.Number of diagnosed people
5.HIV care coverage
9.Number of HIV deaths
10.Number of new infections
Based on essential information collected on these 10 key areas, HIV specialists will be able to assess the scale of the disease, and the impact achieved as a result of the investments made in a country, or globally.
"In today's context of moving towards even more ambitious HIV goals, countries need much more comprehensive, yet simplified tools to collect HIV strategic information, which is the main objective of the guidelines," says Dr. Daniel Low-Beer, WHO’s coordinator for HIV strategic information and planning.
The host country for the launch, Thailand, strongly supports the guidelines. The representative from Thailand’s Ministry of Health, Dr. Taweesap Siraprapasiri, said, "In Thailand, strategic information was the key ingredient for success achieved in the fight against HIV. These new guidelines will help us to harmonize the indicators to be collected and used, while enabling us to make policy decisions and programmatic adjustment more strategically tailored for the needs of the people affected by HIV in the country."
The new guidelines aim to help national decision-makers access all HIV strategic information essentials in one place. Alongside the top 10 global indicators, the guidelines offer 50 national indicators, to be selected by countries as the basis for their strategic information efforts. Previously, countries were required to collect information on more than 100 indicators to report on HIV programs.
"UNAIDS fully supports the guidelines and hopes they will help countries to monitor and report on their achievements towards the 90-90-90 targets and other 'Fast-Track' targets," says Peter Ghys, UNAIDS director for strategic information and evaluation.
"The guidelines call for countries to better disaggregate their data - which inevitably reveal inequities and help us to respond and monitor the HIV epidemic in children and adolescents,” says Dr. Priscilla Idele, UNICEF's Senior Adviser for Data and Analytics.
“It is critically important to support countries in measuring the impact of investments made in HIV programs," says Dr. Osamu Kunii, head of the Strategy, Investment and Impact Division at the Global Fund. “This is a high priority for all partners in global health.”
WHO's new Consolidated strategic information guidelines for HIV in the health sector is intended for use by all specialists involved in national HIV programs, as well as non-governmental organizations, donor agencies, and implementing partners engaged in HIV services both at the national and global levels.