HIV prevention partnership goes online

IQhiv – an initiative that identifies, adapts and disseminates practical tools to improve the quality of HIV prevention – is now online. The tools can be used to assess and strengthen operations and activities, as well as collect evidence on good practice.

Individuals and organizations increasingly understand that the quality of their prevention work must be better and more consistent, to have a sustained impact on the HIV epidemic. For a long time, prevention focused simply on the number of people reached, with little regard for the quality of the interventions. But quality – in parallel with growing concerns about value for money – is rapidly becoming a key consideration for prevention programmes.

In 2009, WHO/Europe, along with BZgA (the Federal Centre for Health Education, Germany) and AIDS Action Europe, launched the IQhiv initiative; it has two primary objectives:

  1. to promote the routine inclusion of quality improvement practices into HIV prevention across Europe at the project, programme and policy levels; and
  2. to disseminate information on quality-improvement practices that have been shown to enhance the effectiveness of HIV prevention at the project, programme and policy levels.

In seeking to improve quality, IQhiv starts by asking critical questions about clients’ needs and expectations, rather than assuming that experts know best. Participation by the target group is often symbolic in contemporary public health, yet only true participation at all levels of implementation allows targeted and more effective interventions in diverse settings and contexts. Quality improvement has to become a continued process of self-reflection and participation. It enables and encourages implementers to look at their work without fear of blame or humiliation.

The user-friendly online platform is funded by the Federal Ministry of Health of Germany.