Academic Commons

Articles

Conceptual and methodological challenges to measuring political commitment to respond to HIV

Fox, Ashley; Goldberg, Allison B.; Gore, Radhika Jayant; Bärnighausen, Till

Background: Researchers have long recognized the importance of a central government’s political “commitment” in order to mount an effective response to HIV. The concept of political commitment remains ill-defined, however, and little guidance has been given on how to measure this construct and its relationship with HIV-related outcomes. Several countries have experienced declines in HIV infection rates, but conceptual difficulties arise in linking these declines to political commitment as opposed to underlying social and behavioural factors. Methods: This paper first presents a critical review of the literature on existing efforts to conceptualize and measure political commitment to respond to HIV and the linkages between political commitment and HIV-related outcomes. Based on the elements identified in this review, the paper then develops and presents a framework to assist researchers in making choices about how to assess a government's level of political commitment to respond to HIV and how to link political commitment to HIV-related outcomes. Results: The review of existing studies identifies three components of commitment (expressed, institutional and budgetary commitment) as different dimensions along which commitment can be measured. The review also identifies normative and ideological aspects of commitment and a set of variables that mediate and moderate political commitment that need to be accounted for in order to draw valid inferences about the relationship between political commitment and HIV-related outcomes. The framework summarizes a set of steps that researchers can follow in order to assess a government's level of commitment to respond to HIV and suggests ways to apply the framework to country cases. Conclusions: Whereas existing studies have adopted a limited and often ambiguous conception of political commitment, we argue that conceiving of political commitment along a greater number of dimensions will allow researchers to draw a more complete picture of political commitment to respond to HIV that avoids making invalid inferences about the relationship between political commitment and HIV outcomes.

Files

  • thumnail for 1758-2652-14-S2-S5.pdf 1758-2652-14-S2-S5.pdf binary/octet-stream 273 KB Download File
  • thumnail for 1758-2652-14-S2-S5.xml 1758-2652-14-S2-S5.xml binary/octet-stream 98.8 KB Download File

Also Published In

Title
Journal of the International AIDS Society
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1186/1758-2652-14-S2-S5

More About This Work

Academic Units
Sociomedical Sciences
Publisher
BioMed Central
Published Here
September 9, 2014
Academic Commons provides global access to research and scholarship produced at Columbia University, Barnard College, Teachers College, Union Theological Seminary and Jewish Theological Seminary. Academic Commons is managed by the Columbia University Libraries.