With PEPFAR support through the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), ICAP has launched a new data-driven website dedicated to the Swaziland HIV Incidence Measurement Survey (SHIMS). Initiated by the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland’s Ministry of Health, SHIMS was implemented by ICAP in 2010-2011. The first nationally representative, population-based survey of its kind, SHIMS measured HIV incidence through direct observations of new infections.
The new website highlights key findings from SHIMS and provides detailed information on the survey methodology. Additionally, the SHIMS website provides access to a public dataset containing a random selection of 5 percent of the total SHIMS sample. Researchers can also petition online for access to a fuller dataset by presenting their research proposals for review by the SHIMS Data Use, Research, and Dissemination Committee (DURDC).
The study was coordinated by ICAP and implemented by a large research team over the course of one year. Over 13,000 home visits were conducted across Swaziland in which researchers recruited participants and offered home-based, HIV counseling and testing. For many of the survey participants, it was the first time they had received an HIV test. Nearly 38 percent of those tested were unaware of their status. Participants who tested positive were referred to care and treatment services.
By making data and findings available online, ICAP hopes that SHIMS findings and the lessons learned from conducting the study can facilitate the advancement of public health in Swaziland and other countries seeking to conduct similar HIV incidence surveys. “The site is an amazing archive and research resource on the HIV work achieved in Swaziland with SHIMS,” said Dr. Ruben Sahabo, country director for ICAP in Swaziland. “It will have a lasting impact on public health research and programming both here and in other sub-Saharan contexts.”