National index on policy related to young people and HIV/AIDS
This indicator is a measure of progress in the development of HIV/AIDS policies and strategies at the national level in six key areas relating to young people. It complements the National Composite Index Indicator in the UNAIDS document Monitoring the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS: guidelines on construction of core indicators.
The questions pertaining specifically to policies on young people should be added to the Country Assessment Questionnaire (Appendix 3 in UNGASS on HIV/AIDS Guidelines on construction of core indicators) in the strategic plan and prevention areas. The questionnaire is conducted with key informants from a designated mix of institutions so as to obtain opinions about central areas of commitment and programming. Each item is given a score (yes = 1, no = 0). The items can be incorporated into the National Composite Policy Index (from UNAIDS guidelines) and can also be analysed separately as a stand-alone index of youth-specific policies. The items are as follows.
1. Relating to the national strategic plan:
1.1. The country has identified HIV prevention and awareness among young people as a priority in the national strategic plan on HIV/AIDS.
1.2. The country applies a multisectoral approach to HIV prevention in young people (at least involving the health and education sectors).
2. Relating to prevention policies:
2.1. The country has a policy or strategy targeted specifically at young people for promoting HIV/AIDS information, education and communication (IEC).
2.2. The country has a policy that promotes life-skills-based education in schools.
2.3. The country has a policy of providing young-people-friendly health services.
2.4. The country has a policy that promotes young peoples access to condoms.
The indicator is the sum of the scores resulting from this assessment.
Geographic location: N/A
Pregnancy status: N/A
Time period: N/A
Type of orphan: N/A
Vulnerability status: N/A
The indicator is simple to assess and is designed to complement the National Composite Policy Index. Because of its simple quantitative nature, however, it gives no information on the quality or effectiveness of national policies and strategies. It is restricted to indicating whether they exist. Moreover, because it relies on the opinions of key informants, the outcome depends entirely on the choice of informants, who can be expected to change from year to year. This makes it difficult to detect true differences between countries and changes over short periods of time, as any change in the composition of the respondents is likely to lead to a change in assessment. Concern has also been raised about the value of a single composite score, in which improvements in some areas may be masked by deterioration in others. For planning and monitoring purposes it may be more useful to present the indices separately. This is a qualitative exercise in which information is collected from a limited number of informants. Respondents for policy assessment are usually not meant to be representative but are carefully selected for their knowledge and viewpoint. The policy assessment may therefore be affected by subjectivity bias on the part of the respondents. In most countries the selected respondent is the manager of the national AIDS programme. However, more than one respondent can be interviewed in order to obtain a more comprehensive picture, and efforts can be made to retain the same informants over a number of years so as to guard against differential recall bias.