Feature story

International consultation on AIDS estimates

13 November 2007

Over the last eight years, estimates of HIV prevalence, incidence and mortality have been produced in close collaboration with countries, using methods developed by a reference group of internationally renowned scientists.

In producing these estimates, the UNAIDS Secretariat and WHO use the best available data and latest analytic methods. As this data improves the estimates are revised, sometimes significantly.

In July 2007, India announced revised estimates of HIV prevalence and the number of people living with HIV that were less than half the previous estimates. New regional and global estimates being prepared for release in the 2007 AIDS Epidemic Update report are expected to include further downward revisions in some countries.

In the light of these changes, UNAIDS felt that it was timely that an independent and authoritative review of the process for AIDS estimates is carried out. With this in mind, UNAIDS is bringing together a group of some 30international experts and country practitioners to review the methods and process used to generate AIDS data.

The consultation is being held on the 14-15 of November at the UNAIDS Secretariat headquarters in Geneva. The objectives of the meeting are to review the current methodology used by the UNAIDS Secretariat and WHO and to look at ways to improve the methodology and its application in producing AIDS estimates. As part of the consultation, representatives from a number of countries will provide country perspective on country methods and process and how this is linked to the UNAIDS/WHO process.

At the end of the meeting, a report will be drafted containing the findings of the review and recommendations for improvement of the process for development and use of methods. As in previous years, UNAIDS Secretariat and WHO will be releasing the latest estimates on the epidemic, for 2007, in time for World AIDS Day on December 1st.

UNAIDS and WHO will continue to systematically review the methodology used to ensure that the methods used to analyze data are the best to our knowledge and will modify AIDS estimates when new scientific data, research and analysis supports such change.


Read more on the process behind AIDS estimates

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