East Africa Alcohol Policy Alliance agrees: More research required

There is a pressing need to support the development of national policies on alcohol regulations in East Africa, argues Dr Nyasule Neke of the National Institute for Medical Research, Mwanza (NIMR). Dr Neke represented STRIVE and NIMR at the 3rd East Africa Conference on Alcohol in Arusha, Tanzania in September. The aim of the conference was to share information on national alcohol policy formulations across East Africa.

Evaluation of community mobilization and empowerment: HIV prevention among female sex workers in India

Do we need a distinct conceptual framework to assess empowerment and HIV vulnerability amongst female sex workers (FSW)?

While community mobilization has been widely endorsed, there is little systematic documentation of its role in HIV prevention.

Should structural interventions be evaluated using RCTs? The case of HIV prevention

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Do issues of ethics, feasibility and utility preclude the use of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in evaluations of structural interventions for HIV prevention?

Making sense of 'evidence' - notes on the discursive politics of research and pro-poor policy making

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What are the assumptions underlying ‘evidence based’ approaches to poverty reduction? 

This paper argues that the discourse of evidence-based policy (EBP) relies too heavily on a technocratic, linear understanding of the policy making process. This limited understanding ignores important discursive frameworks and paradigms that help make evidence meaningful in terms of its potential impact.

The author uses examples from South Africa to illustrate how evidence is used in politically loaded and ideologically compelling ‘policy narratives’.

Understanding the gender disparity in HIV infection across countries in sub-Saharan Africa: evidence from the Demographic and Health Surveys

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Comparative study that investigates how AIDS awareness and sexual behaviour affect the gender disparity in HIV infection.

The findings show that the risk for women is 70% higher than their male counterparts of similar sexual behaviour, suggesting that the observed gender disparity cannot be attributed to sexual behaviour. 

Burden of HIV among female sex workers in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review and meta-analysis

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Review of HIV risk amongst FSW compared with that of other women of reproductive age.

The research found that although data characterising HIV risk among female sex workers is scarce, the burden of disease is disproportionately high. The paper argues for further consideration of the legal and policy environments in which sex workers operate. It also advocates actions to address the role of stigma, discrimination, and violence in shaping sex workers’ vulnerability to HIV

UNAIDS guidance note on HIV and sex work

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A human-rights-based approach to promoting universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support in the context of adult sex work.

This updated document supports policies and practices that tackle the link between HIV vulnerability and sex work. It provides information for both policy-makers and practitioners on the evidence and approaches advocated by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS.

The recommendations are based on:

UNAIDS HIV and Social Protection Guidance Note

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Briefing on the potential of social protection schemes to improve HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

UNAIDS argues for the importance of social protection as an integral part of the global response to the HIV epidemic. The strengths of social protection lie in its capacity to address the structural drivers of HIV at the same time as targeting its impact on communities, households and individuals directly.

The report features case studies from:

Adolescent girls' agency - Maggie Bangser

What are the most effective ways to build the capacity of young women to address vulnerability to HIV/AIDS, unwanted pregnancy and violence?

This webinar provides a platform for participants to share strategies across four overarching themes:

Realist randomised controlled trials: Evaluating complex public health interventions

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Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) as a vehicle through which to explore complex social phenomena.