Program Management

While a clearly effective strategy for MCP programming has yet to be defined, many agree that, to start, MCP can be addressed within the context of broader HIV prevention programming. The  HIV epidemic is diverse and therefore countries need to assess what is happening at the national and subnational levels in order to develop HIV prevention and MCP programs that are appropriate and effective within their culture and population. Another first step for addressing MCP is to begin increasing people’s awareness of the risks associated with multiple and concurrent sexual partners. Furthermore, programs need to convey the message to people that their partners’ sexual partnerships affect their own risk of acquiring HIV. MCP programs can be designed to help individuals to understand and minimize their infection risks through the adoption of prevention behaviors. The Programmatic Actions and Recommendations to Address MCP section of this Toolkit includes a collection of resources that provide an overview of the context, issues and challenges facing MCP programming as well as recommended strategies to implement MCP programs. Resources from K4Health's Family Planning and HIV Services Integration Toolkit may also be helpful to program planners and managers who are interested in addressing MCP within existing HIV and/or Family Planning programs.

Program planners and managers should use data for informed-decision making that guide MCP programs and message development. Program planners and managers can use the resources and tools in the Know Your Epidemic: Measurement & Data Collection section of this Toolkit to develop programs and messages tailored to their specific populations—including modes of transmission, audiences, and the different patterns of sexual partnerships. For each situation, planners need to know why people engage in MCP and the factors that contribute to this type of sexual behavior. Qualitative assessments can complement epidemiological data and provide essential information for designing effective MCP-reduction activities.

Program managers also need ways to monitor MCP-reduction activities. Most programs that address MCP are relatively new, so there is little data on which to judge effective approaches. Routine measures to monitor population-level outcomes as well as specific MCP-related program activities will lead to improvements in program monitoring. The Monitoring & Evaluation section in this Toolkit provides guides and tools to assist program managers in monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of their MCP programs.

Intergenerational (>10 years) sexual partnerships and gender inequity within sexual partnerships are thought to contribute to high HIV transmission rates among young women, especially within the context of MCP.  The last section of the Program Management tab, Addressing Gender and Intergenerational Sex, includes resources that provide insight into the context and cultural beliefs surrounding gender roles and age as a factor in contributing to MCP.