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Glob Public Health. 2017 Sep;12(9):1122-1140. doi: 10.1080/17441692.2015.1080590. Epub 2015 Sep 28.

A situational analysis methodology to inform comprehensive HIV prevention and treatment programming, applied in rural South Africa.

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a Center for AIDS Prevention Studies , University of California , San Francisco , CA , USA.
b International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH) - South Africa , University of Washington , Pretoria , South Africa.
c International Training and Education Center for Health , University of Washington , Seattle , WA , USA.


Successful HIV prevention programming requires engaging communities in the planning process and responding to the social environmental factors that shape health and behaviour in a specific local context. We conducted two community-based situational analyses to inform a large, comprehensive HIV prevention programme in two rural districts of North West Province South Africa in 2012. The methodology includes: initial partnership building, goal setting and background research; 1 week of field work; in-field and subsequent data analysis; and community dissemination and programmatic incorporation of results. We describe the methodology and a case study of the approach in rural South Africa; assess if the methodology generated data with sufficient saturation, breadth and utility for programming purposes; and evaluate if this process successfully engaged the community. Between the two sites, 87 men and 105 women consented to in-depth interviews; 17 focus groups were conducted; and 13 health facilities and 7 NGOs were assessed. The methodology succeeded in quickly collecting high-quality data relevant to tailoring a comprehensive HIV programme and created a strong foundation for community engagement and integration with local health services. This methodology can be an accessible tool in guiding community engagement and tailoring future combination HIV prevention and care programmes.


HIV; Situational analysis; South Africa; community engagement; rapid assessment

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