The National HIV Behavioral Surveillance (NHBS) system monitors HIV risk behaviors, utilization of HIV testing and other prevention services, and HIV prevalence and incidence among high-risk populations. The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) is committed to continuing NHBS activities in Miami-Dade County. Behavioral data from this area are imperative to guide and evaluate HIV prevention activities on local, state, and national levels. Miami-Dade County had the fifth highest AIDS prevalence (12,490 persons living with AIDS at the end of 2006) among Metropolitan Statistical Areas and divisions eligible for funding.1 Background/Objectives: NHBS was first funded in 2002 and continues to support a number of important public health goals.2,3,45,6,7 Our objectives include conducting formative research, surveys, and HIV and hepatitis testing among high-risk populations;employing respondent- driven and venue-based, time-space sampling;and sampling the required number of eligible participants for each study cycle among men who have sex with men (MSM) (500), injection drug users (IDUs) (500) and heterosexuals at increased risk for infection (HET) (450). Methods: FDOH will continue to collaborate with the University of Miami (UM) to conduct NHBS in Miami. FDOH and UM will implement NHBS according to CDC protocols. Each year, staff will alternate the study target population (i.e., MSM, IDUs, and HET). Prior to sampling in each cycle, staff will conduct formative research to define the population of interest, determine ways to access the population, and gain insight into the population's HIV risk behaviors. The research team will collaborate with various community partners (e.g., researchers, service providers) both to perform formative research and to disseminate study findings. Conclusions: The research team has obtained a sample of >500 eligible persons in all previous NHBS cycles in Miami-Dade County and has the experience, expertise, and resources (e.g., a mobile interviewing van) to continue successful NHBS activities. Marlene LaLota, MPH, Principal Investigator, and Lisa Metsch, PhD, Co-Principal Investigator, together hold over 30 years of experience directing HIV prevention studies and each have a wealth of peer-reviewed publications. David Forrest, PhD, Field Operations Director, is a trained cultural anthropologist and brings ethnographic expertise to NHBS operations, including formative research. The team has an established history of close collaboration between institutions and with CDC to plan and conduct NHBS activities. The team is fully committed to disseminating study findings on local, state, and national levels and using the data to evaluate and improve HIV prevention services.
National HIV Behavioral Surveillance (NHBS) research activities help guide and evaluate public health programs. Through conducting interviews and voluntary HIV testing among populations at high risk for infection, the project provides programs with important local data on sexual and drug-use risk behaviors, use and impact of HIV testing and other prevention services, and HIV prevalence and incidence. Additionally, local NHBS findings may be compared to data from other NHBS sites and from prior study cycles. Public health professionals may use NHBS data to improve efforts to reach high-risk populations and promote behavior changes needed to prevent new HIV infections.