Identifying barriers to HIV and TB testing among key population groups in Azerbaijan: a mixed methods study
NGO ‘Towards TB free Future Public Union’
Main applicant and principal investigator
Azerbaijan republican AIDS Center, Research Institute of Lung Diseases, WHO Collaborating Center on tuberculosis, TB Azerbaijan NGO Coalition, Harm Reduction Network.
Key populations at higher risk of HIV and TB infection in Azerbaijan face multiple barriers for accessing essential HIV and TB services. Barriers are both structural, administrative, legislative and cultural and include challenges related to gender discrimination, human rights, stigmatization and fear of HIV/TB diagnosis disclosure. These barriers impede access to primary healthcare services, which is the main entry point for HIV and TB testing in the country, but also access to community-based testing services. In addition, testing and diagnosis rates have declined during and after the COVID-19 pandemic and should be restored and also improved.
The main aim of the project is to assess and describe the main barriers for HIV and TB testing faced by key population groups at higher risk of HIV and TB in Azerbaijan and develop an action plan with policy recommendations to address the identified barriers, ultimately aiming to improve the quality of HIV and TB care for the affected populations.
This study will utilize both quantitative and qualitative methods. The quantitative part includes semi-structured questionnaire interviews with representatives of key populations for HIV (men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgender people, people with injecting drugs and people living with HIV and TB) and TB (ex-prisoners, migrants, refugee and internally displaced people, homeless people and TB patients and their household contacts). The qualitative part will consist of in depth-interviews and focus group discussions with health care workers, selected key population group members and community health workers. In addition, a desk review will map legislative/administrative barriers, national testing policies and good practice international experiences.
Output / impact
A key output from the study will an action plan with policy recommendations aiming at addressing the identified barriers. By mobilizing community members and engaging into dialogue with key stakeholders, the data generated through the study will be used in advocacy efforts with decision makers aimed at reducing the structural and human rights barriers to HIV/TB services for key populations. The project will also support research related capacity building through training of the involved project members, including training of interviewers in interview methods and recruitment procedures.