Second Generation Surveillance Surveys of HIV, other STIs and Risk Behaviours in 6 Pacific Island Countries (2004-2005)
The HIV epidemic in most Pacific countries, excluding Papua New Guinea, has been classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a low prevalence epidemic and notifications data and ad hoc surveys support this observation. However, few countries in the Pacific Region have established adequate surveillance systems. As part of the regional proposal funded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), a component on strengthening HIV surveillance and related laboratory capacity in six sentinel Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) - Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu was included. The implementation of Second Generation HIV Surveillance (SGS) will develop and enhance existing sexually transmitted infection (STI), HIV and behavioural surveillance systems and provide epidemiological data on which to design and evaluate targeted interventions. With technical support from the World Health Organisation, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and the University of New South Wales Australia, the Ministries of Health of six countries have conducted successfully the first round of SGS during 2004-2005. This HIV surveillance approach is a significant initiative for the South Pacific (SP) Region. The World Health Organisation, Western Pacific Regional Office assists in the publication of this SGS report, which results from a highly coordinated multidisciplinary collaborative effort of the six Pacific Island countries and partners in the implementation of SGS. The report presents a synthesis and analysis of data generated by the SGS surveys from the first round of surveys, including prevalence of disease, demographic descriptors, risk behaviours and knowledge of HIV. Results and their programmatic implications are presented as a regional summary followed by country-specific chapters, in the way to be most useful for national Ministries of Health, in-country stakeholders and other regional agencies. This report also presents an abbreviated analysis of design limitations due to funding and methodological constraints with suggested improvements for future rounds of surveys.