Cover page A Manual for Early Warning Rapid Response Systems for HIV/AIDS ISBN/DATE



Authors:  Lee-Nah Hsu, Jacques du Guerny and Philip Guest

Compiled by Vincent Fung and Verena Schuster



Experience has shown how important it is to nip the HIV/AIDS epidemics in the bud, before they become uncontrollable. This is why one of the areas of concern for the UNDP South East Asia HIV and Development Programme (UNDP-SEAHIV) was to develop an Early Warning Rapid Response System (EWRRS): the first workshop was held in May 2000. The System has been developed through continuing participation of stakeholders and has been implemented in various forms by Cambodia, China. Lao People's Democratic Republic and Viet Nam. This Manual is the result of the process of development of the EWRRS and of the experiences of the four implementing countries.
Early warning systems exist in various forms. Canaries, for example, have been employed in coal mines for decades as life-saving environmental indicators. Birds react similarly to humans in the presence of arbitrary toxins but. because of their faster metabolism, they react more quickly, thereby offering an early warning.
In the area of HIV/AIDS, early warnings are mostly conceived within a health paradigm. What is 'early warning' for HIV in a development paradigm? What is the equivalent of the coal miner's canary in agriculture or infrastructure development: a drought, a change in crops, a new road or dam? This Manual explains the identification and analysis of such early warning signals - which can offer much earlier alerts than those found within a health paradigm. Development signals for HIV/AIDS requires cross-cutting interpretation, thus EWRRS needs to be set-up with close collaboration between the AIDS authorities and those of the relevant sectors.
Early warning is but the first step: without an appropriate and effective response, its use is limited. Therefore, the Manual describes how to design a development response which can be implemented by development sectors in order to reduce HIV vulnerability and build community resilience.
National and trans-national HIV/AIDS epidemics are the result of a number of mini epidemics, and as a result, EWRRS is useful even in areas where mature epidemics are constantly evolving. A new road, or a shift in migration patterns can cause an area previously unaffected by the epidemic to be engulfed in it or. if it was already affected, the area can be hit with a new wave.
The EWRRS examines the HIV/AIDS epidemic from a new perspective and opens new ways to control the localized epidemics.

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November 2004