HIV key populations

HIV Key populations face much higher rates of HIV and AIDS than the general population and are most vulnerable to contracting HIV. The most common HIV key populations are:

  • People who inject drugs (PWID)
  • Men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender persons (TG)
  • Female sex workers (FSW) and their clients

Depending on the country context HIV key populations may also include: Prisoners, migrants or mobile populations, miners and others.

HIV Key populations are often criminalized and face stigmatization and discrimination, including from health services, which prevents them from accessing HIV prevention services.

The data collected from my research is used to provide evidence to enhance much needed government support and community-based and implemented HIV prevention and treatment programs that provide tailored services for key populations in order to reduce new HIV infections. Because Respondent Driven Sampling is a peer to peer recruitment method which allows participants to remain anonymous, it is especially effective for sampling HIV key populations.

I am currently working closely with UNICEF to support HIV data collection among adolescent (10 to 18 years) and young (19 to 24 years) key populations. Adolescent and young key populations are disproportionately affected by HIV and are largely ignored in HIV surveys. For more information, please see my recent article Ensuring Inclusion of Adolescent Key Populations at Higher Risk of HIV Exposure and guidance I wrote on behalf of UNICEF on sampling adolescent and young key populations.