Despite the availability of efficacious HIV prevention interventions impact at the population level has been difficult to achieve. There are no magic bullets for HIV prevention and high impact combinations of interventions need to be designed for specific contexts. During the recent past declining resources have been the rule in general and for HIV prevention in particular. It is imperative that HIV prevention programmes choose the most efficacious and appropriate intervention packages for their specific context and specific epidemic; implement the intervention mix effectively; and achieve the required level of coverage for population level impact. Strategic approaches to the expansion and scale up of coverage of preventive interventions is essential for the maximization of return on investment (ROI) of prevention resources.
This meeting was comprised of presentations and discussion on implementation research (IR) and program science (PS) approaches to the determination of appropriate intervention packages and strategies for achieving maximum population level impact and return on investment in HIV prevention.
Program Science: Implication and Applications, Istanbul, Turkey - March 21-23, 2011
This was the third meeting of the Program Science initiative, which studied in more depth the implications of a Program Science approach and how this approach could be applied in the various components of programs, for the prevention of sexually transmitted infections and HIV.
The meeting brought together a selected group of leaders from academic, health programs, policy and funding agencies. The goals of the meeting were:
1. The specification of programmatic and scientific approaches to goal setting; epidemilogic and situation appraisal; planning and design; implementation; monitoring and evaluation
2. The clarification of opportunities and challenges associated with knowledge translation and dissemination regarding program components; and
3. The establishment of next steps for the Program Science initiative and the Program Science Consortium in light of ongoing country program experience.
Three decades into the emergence of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic and despite the development of many efficacious indvidual, group and structural level interventions, it is clear that advances made in the prevention of HIV and other STIs have not been sufficient to get ahead of these epidemics.
Program Science, a newly evolving approach to prevention science, can be defined as "Promoting collaboration and integration between programs and science to improve the way programs are designed, umplemented and evaluated to accelerate and increase health impact". It is program centered, population based and attempts to understand and evaluate a multiplicity of interventions in different contxts. Further it attempts to do so at a large scale.
To further develop the cncept and application of Program Science, a meeting of STI and HIV prevention program implementers, policy makers and funders was convened in Rome, Italy on May 2-5, 2010. The meeting was organized by Drs. James Blanchard and Sevgi Aral, and funded by the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH). The aim of the meeting was to discuss Program Science and its evidence base in the planning, implementation and evaluation of STI and HIV prevention programs.
A full meeting report was produced summarizing the objectives and next steps arising from the meeting.
The second Program Science Meeting was held in Prague, Czech Republic on November 1-3, 2010. The meeting was organized by Drs. James Blanchard and Sevgi Aral and supported by the Office of Aids Research, National Institutes of Health.
The goals of the meeting were three fold:
The body of scientific work will attempt to systemically describe and explain: