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Partnership Defined Quality: A Methodology for Improving VCT Services for Key Groups in Central America

Organizational Authors: 
Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University

In Central America, where HIV is gaining a stronghold among populations in most vulnerable circumstances, widespread use of good quality VCT services is key to containing the spread of the epidemic. The Partnership Defined Quality (PDQ) methodology was adapted to develop a shared vision of high quality VCT services among providers and community members as the first phase of a quality improvement initiative. Implementation of the methodology helped to build support for initiatives to reduce stigma and discrimination in VCT services.

The PDQ process involved a series of workshops with public and private-sector providers, commercial sex workers (CSWs) and men who have sex with men (MSM), to explore attitudes and practices related to the provision and utilization of services. This process provided a forum to address negative perceptions and practices and initiate the process of sensitization to existing stigma and discrimination. PDQ participants were involved in planning, implementation, and evaluation, thus establishing an ongoing quality improvement process.

Lessons learned from the PDQ process guided the development of training and behavior change communication (BCC) strategies aimed at improving the quality of VCT services and increasing their use among populations at high risk for HIV/AIDS.

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