Sero-epidemiology has a critical role in assessing the current level or burden of HIV infection among populations at risk, monitoring patterns in transmission, detecting epidemics and measuring the impact of community based prevention programmes. HIV sero-prevalence and sero-incidence data contribute to our understanding of the epidemiology of HIV, the development of sound health policy, the appropriate provision of resources and the planning of programmes for the primary and secondary prevention of infection.
The laboratory also serves as the testing site for samples collected from a research project, which YRG CARE is conducting in collaboration with John Hopkins University and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), USA. Called the NIMH Collaborative HIV/STD Prevention Trial, the study will last for five years and will be conducted simultaneously in India as well as five other countries, namely Uganda, Peru, China, Russia and Zimbabwe. Assisted by the Audio Computer Assisted Self Interviewing system (ACASI) – the researchers will be determining the prevalence of HIV, STDs and risk behaviour in a number of slums in Chennai.