Criteria for priority setting of HIV/AIDS interventions in Thailand: a discrete choice experiment
Sitaporn Youngkong*1,2, Rob Baltussen*1, Sripen Tantivess*2, Xander Koolman*3 and Yot Teerawattananon*2
1 Nijmegen International Center for Health Systems Research and Education (NICHE), Department of Primary and Community Care, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
2 Health Intervention and Technology Assessment Program, Thailand
3 Department of Health Policy and Management, Erasmus University Medical Centre, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Although a sizeable budget is available for HIV/AIDS control in Thailand, there will never be enough resources to implement every programme for all target groups at full scale. As such, there is a need to prioritize HIV/AIDS programmes. However, as of yet, there is no evidence on the criteria that should guide the priority setting of HIV/AIDS programmes in Thailand, including their relative importance. Also, it is not clear whether different stakeholders share similar preferences.
Criteria for priority setting of HIV/AIDS interventions in Thailand were identified in group discussions with policy makers, people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), and community members (i.e. village health volunteers (VHVs)). On the basis of these, discrete choice experiments were designed and administered among 28 policy makers, 74 PLWHA, and 50 VHVs.
In order of importance, policy makers expressed a preference for interventions that are highly effective, that are preventive of nature (as compared to care and treatment), that are based on strong scientific evidence, that target high risk groups (as compared to teenagers, adults, or children), and that target both genders (rather than only men or women). PLWHA and VHVs had similar preferences but the former group expressed a strong preference for care and treatment for AIDS patients.
The study has identified criteria for priority setting of HIV/AIDS interventions in Thailand, and revealed that different stakeholders have different preferences vis-à-vis these criteria. This could be used for a broad ranking of interventions, and as such as a basis for more detailed priority setting, taking into account also qualitative criteria.