What issue are you addressing? Why is UNDP involved?

Only 11% of young people aged 15-24 have comprehensive knowledge about HIV prevention, and only 33% know where to get tested for HIV. Overall, up to 40% of people living with HIV are not aware of their HIV status. This is especially true for young key populations.[1]

Despite significant progress made by the country, the uptake of testing services persistently remains low, increasing the risk of further transmission and deteriorating quality of life of the people with late diagnosis.

It is against this background that a joint UNDP-UNFPA pilot was initiated in 2020 bringing together UNFPA’s network of actors in the field of HIV and UNDP’s innovation and behavioural expertise for improved public services.


What is UNDP doing to address the issue?

Through a consultative process led by UNDP involving up to 200 practitioners, young volunteer researchers, paralegals working with vulnerable groups, NGO and public sector representatives co-designed and conducted a perception study (based on micronarratives) among youth, YKPs and service providers identifying key behavioural barriers for low uptake of HIV testing. Based on the stories told by 250 respondents, key findings indicate that youth under the age of 25 is less knowledgeable about HIV, motivation to get tested is influenced by friends, NGO service providers are preferred and staff attitude, together with physical environment and possibility of self-testing, is the most reported factor that makes the testing process easy and painless;

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This work was conducted in collaboration with leading behavioural insights practitioner  – Behavioural Insights Team (BIT), UK,  local research team and the Caucasus Research Resource Centre to co-design a Randomised Controlled Trial and inform decisions of the National Disease Control Center (NCDC) to improve provision of self-tests and scale up the program.


What impact has UNDP made in addressing the issue?

Ahead of RCT implementation, UNDP, UNFPA together with  national actors (NCDC, the AIDS Centre, NGO “Tanadgoma”, youth and YKP), are planning to organize a series of collaborative sessions with service providers and medical staff to co-design a sample protocol for remote or in-person stigma-free advisory and service provision to YKPs ensuring confidentiality, ease of access, relevant psychological support and information on HIV testing options.  

The new service response offer will also take into consideration the new realties around COVID-19 e.g. preference for remote delivery services, or limited mobility, or distancing requirements.
 

What key message do you have for other UNDP country offices?

Ensuring a lasting impact is facilitated through long-term vision shared by all key players and sustainable action through integration into national policies, strategies, and infrastructure.


For more information: Khatuna Sandroshvili, Innovation Specialist, UNDP Georgia - khatuna.sandroshvili@undp.org

 

[1] [Georgia HIV/AIDS National Strategic Plan 2019 – 2022, http://www.georgia-ccm.ge/wp-content/uploads/Georgia-HIV-AIDS-National-Strategic-Plan-2019-20222.pdf;  2018 Georgia MICS (Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey),  https://www.unicef.org/georgia/media/3501/file/Georgia_MICS_2018_en.pdf  ]

 

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Comments (5)

natalia.zakareishvili

As, in general testing uptake in Georgia is low, both in key populations and in general population and late diagnosis remains a significant challenge in Georgia, individuals are not aware of their HIV status and continue to engage in high risk behavior. Therefore, it was important to initiate and use behavioral insights to see the reasons of low demand and uptake of HIV testing in order to launch effective behavior change communication campaign, for improvement of quality VCT services that will contribute to scaling up testing services.

natalia.zakareishvili

In 2020, it was the first ever time that UNFPA in partnership with UNDP (with BUF/UNAIDS funding), initiated a joint initiative with the NGO Tanadgoma and Government counterpart – National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) “Design and implementation of interventions using Behavioral Insights to address barriers/ S&D to HIV testing in Georgia”. The joint initiative formed an integral part of the overall national and international development agenda as per NSP HIV/AIDS 2019-2022, UNAIDS 90-90-90 Fast Track targets and SDG 3 (Nationalized).

Nino Tsereteli

This initiative was very interesting and inspiring for organizations and experts active in HIV/AIDS field. On one hand, narratives study was an innovative and interesting way of collecting evidence, on the other hand, the information collected concerned youth and YKPs - groups about which we do not have enough data. Hence, the findings of the survey will inform very timely and interesting interventions, whereas YKPs will be engaged at all stages. Hopefully, 2021 will already bring some promising results!

Rosie Phillips

This is such an important policy area to tackle around the world, but particularly in Georgia where the levels of stigma remain high and prevent routine testing for HIV. The narratives study that the UNDP and UNFPA team ran in 2020 was crucial in uncovering the barriers currently preventing higher levels of HIV testing in the country. On the basis of this work, they have launched a second wave of the project uniting a variety of local and international experts to design and evaluate solutions to alleviate these barriers. This work is not only exciting, but has the potential to be hugely impactful. We at the Behavioural Insights Team are really excited to be a part of the team working on this and are looking forward to hopefully seeing the results in the months to come!

Mziatab

Very interesting and innovative way for exploring and presenting testing barriers in Georgia. Given that the country faces serious challenge in terms of case finding, the research seems very timely and responsive to the country specific needs. I am sure study findings will be used in informed policy making. Many thanks to UNDP and UNFPA and the research team for good job. I will be looking forward to seeing the results of ongoing RCT. I wish you the best of luck in this project


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