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Innovating: Implementing the PLACE Method

by on July 23, 2014

innovatingMEASURE Evaluation has enhanced the quality and amount of information about HIV incidence by working with local governments and organizations in countries throughout the developing world to implement its innovative PLACE protocol. The PLACE method allows local health workers to identify and map locations and events where people meet new sexual partners and to interview a representative sample of people at the venues about their sexual behavior and exposure to prevention programs.

Since we first developed and piloted PLACE in South Africa in 1999, it has been used to focus HIV prevention efforts on high-incidence areas, where interventions are most likely to impact behavior change. In 2009, MEASURE Evaluation acquired even more information about HIV in China’s Liuzhou province by conducting a PLACE study alongside respondent driven sampling (RDS) and comparing results from the two methods. In addition to yielding useful methodological information, the comparison study identified gaps in Liuzhou’s HIV prevention programs and documented recent trends in sexual behavior. For example, the PLACE portion of the study supported a 2010 finding from China’s national population-based household survey of a rising rate of one-night stands among young people who do not identify as sex workers, which could alter HIV transmission patterns in China. This kind of specific and localized information helps health authorities target and monitor local HIV interventions.

Read more about how MEASURE Evaluation improves decision making in public health.

Have you used the PLACE method? If so, please share your experience.

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