is an international, nonprofit, nongovernmental organisation that seeks to improve the well-being and reproductive health of the current and future generations around the world and to help achieve a humane, equitable, and sustainable balance between people and resources. The Council conducts research in three areas: HIV
; poverty, gender, and youth; and reproductive health. Established in 1952, the Council is governed by an international board of trustees. Its New York headquarters supports a global network of regional and country offices.
The Population Council's
work ranges over the broad field of population: from research to improve services and products that respond to people's reproductive health needs to designing interventions to treat and prevent HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases; from studies of the effects of population factors on a country's ability to provide a better life for its citizens to research that investigates the influence of education and livelihood opportunities on young girls and women. The Council is also concerned with the reproductive health and well-being of the one billion adolescents in the developing world, who are about to enter their reproductive years and whose behaviour will shape the future of their countries. These are some of the global issues that engage the Council and its scientists.
The Knowledge Network Project
undertaken by the Population Council aims to provide evidence-based programmatic learnings from up-scaled HIV prevention interventions to guide HIV prevention programmes for vulnerable populations most at risk in India and other developing countries, with similar concentrated epidemics.
In 2003, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation established Avahan, a national HIV prevention initiative in India, to expand access to effective prevention programmes in six states with high infection rates and along the nation’s major trucking routes. Avahan is currently working with 280,000 individuals such as female sex workers, men who have sex with men, and injecting drug users and about five million clients of sex workers and truckers who are at risk of contracting HIV. The scale of this operation and the diversity of the intervention environment make Avahan a `live laboratory’ of learnings for HIV prevention. Since its start, a total of 24 distinguished organisations/universities have been involved in programme implementation, monitoring, evaluation, advocacy and knowledge building. During this period, extensive data have been collected by Avahan’s implementing partners, as well as its evaluation and knowledge-building partners. The objective has been to continuously refine the programme and to inform and guide India’s national programme on best practices. While Avahan’s implementing partners have generated information on programme access, quality, coverage and utilisation of services, its knowledge-building and evaluation partners have conducted a number of cross-sectional and longitudinal behavioural and biological surveys such as the Integrated Behavioural and Biological Assessments, surveys of the general population, surveys of migrant and mobile population groups, analysis of data on HIV from the National Family Health Surveys, research on community mobilisation and other studies.
The Knowledge Network Project, through the process of documentation and dissemination of significant programmatic learnings from Avahan’s up-scaled HIV prevention interventions with female sex workers, self-identified men who have sex with men and clients of sex workers including trucker populations, aims to strengthen national capacity in HIV prevention interventions.
The IndiaHIV portal has been developed by the Population Council as part of the Knowledge Network Project initiative, with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This knowledge sharing portal is a repository of information, wherein lessons learned from HIV prevention programmes implemented by Avahan - the India AIDS Initiative - in selected states with high HIV prevalence among most at-risk population groups will be made available nationally and globally.