Geographical Mapping Underway in Quezon City for HIV Prevention Services

In 2013, the Department of Health in partnership with the World Bank embarked on the HIV Prevention in Big Cities project, which aimed to improve the scale, quality and impact of intervention in Taguig, Parañaque and Mandaluyong. Cognizant of the fact that sexual transmission between males has been predominant mode of HIV transmission in the country, and that new HIV infections have increased in recent years, a geographic mapping and profiling of “hot spots” or sites where target populations congregated was conducted, with technical support from the University of Manitoba and implementation support from the Philippine NGO Council on Population, Health and Welfare. The mapping and profiling was completed in 14 days, and provided accurate information on the locations and size of the Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) sites.

As an offshoot of the Big Cities project, the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP) has teamed up with the DLSU Social Development Research Center (SDRC) for “Improving HIV Programme Access and Programme Coverage for Key Populations in the Philippines: Geographical and Programmatic Mapping Study in Quezon City, Philippines”. With support from UNAIDS, the current study goes beyond the Big Cities project, in which there was no programmatic mapping. The FPOP-SDRC undertaking will provide estimates of target populations, and will help determine possible services and policies that need to be implemented to address the rise in the spread of HIV. Apart from MSMs, target populations for the study include transgenders (TGs) and persons who inject drugs (PWIDs).

FPOP has been commissioned to undertake the study in its role as a national organization providing sexual and reproductive health services and educating communities about sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), especially among the poor, marginalized, socially excluded and underserved. DLSU-SDRC meanwhile has been selected to provide technical assistance for the duration of the geographical and programmatic mapping; develop tools and protocols for the geographical and programmatic mapping specific to Quezon City; facilitate a review of the study by an appropriate Ethical Review Committee; conduct a training of enumerators/interviewers and other members of the mapping team; field test the tools and protocols; assist FPOP and the Quezon City Health Department (QCHD) in providing technical support on research mapping; and conduct an end of project review/evaluation.

The Geographical and Programmatic Mapping study is headed by SDRC Director Dr. Maria Caridad H. Tarroja, with Dr. Roberto Javier, Jr. as co-investigator.