High-quality, real-time data are helping Bolivian health officials carry out more effective HIV/AIDS prevention education, including HIV counseling and testing services. According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in Bolivia’s general population have remained under 0.1 percent, which is a remarkable success compared to some neighboring countries. One study in Santa Cruz, however, detected a prevalence rate of 22 percent among high-risk groups. Tracking these groups remains a high priority for the government, but effective public health programming depends on access to reliable information.
In 2005, an epidemiologist and a data manager began working with Bolivia’s nine regional HIV/AIDS clinics to revise and complete existing data, automate and standardize clinical records, and improve notification forms. The work was conducted in partnership with PEPFAR.
Dr. Percy Calderon, an HIV/AIDS epidemiologist at Bolivia’s Health Ministry, said that PEPFAR “has provided essential support to the Bolivian HIV/AIDS program to achieve an important breakthrough in advanced data management and epidemiological surveillance. This allows decision-makers and health workers to improve the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS.”