The adult HIV prevalence rate in Malawi is among the highest in the world. The 2010 Malawi Demographic and Health Survey found that HIV prevalence is higher among adult females (13 percent) than males (8 percent), and about 88 percent of all new HIV infections in Malawi are acquired through unprotected heterosexual intercourse.
To help track trends in HIV and AIDS-related knowledge, attitudes and behaviors among populations at particular risk of infection, FHI 360 is conducting a biological and behavioral surveillance survey (BBSS). The survey will be conducted among 14 populations identified to be at high risk of contracting HIV, including: female sex workers, clients of sex workers, female border traders, male and female police officers, male and female estate workers, fishermen, vendors, female and male primary and secondary school teachers and male long-distance truck drivers. This is the first BBSS in which clients of sex workers will be included.
The primary objectives of the BBSS are to identify and track behavioral trends among target populations in some of the catchment areas; identify the seroprevalence of HIV and sexually transmitted infections by target group, estimate the population size of female sex workers and provide information that can help guide program planning and interventions among the high-risk groups.
To gather survey data, FHI 360 will collect and analyze blood samples from each respondent and conduct interviews using a structured questionnaire. The survey will provide basic indicators on knowledge, attitudes and behaviors related to HIV and AIDS.