The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is a global health initiative launched in 2003 with the goal of comprehensively combating the devastation due to HIV/AIDS around the world. Implementation science is the study of methods to improve the uptake, implementation, and translation of research findings into routine and common practices (the "know-do" or "evidence to program" gap). The scope of implementation science is broader than typical biomedical research; it seeks to improve program effectiveness and optimize efficiency, including the effective transfer of interventions from one setting to another. The methods of implementation science facilitate making evidence-based choices between competing or combined interventions and improving the delivery of effective and cost-effective programs. A rigorous implementation science research agenda is needed to improve program delivery in PEPFAR and to increase the global impact of proven HIV/AIDS modalities in prevention, treatment, and care. While scientific knowledge to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS has expanded substantially, scientific advances regarding the implementation of effective interventions have not kept pace. There is an unmet need for implementation science research to inform approaches and investments for public health programming and policy making. For example, research is needed to improve the dissemination and uptake of effective interventions, to deliver effective interventions most efficiently, to improve the transfer of interventions from one setting or population to another, to test the effectiveness of “at scale” combination prevention interventions, and to conduct comparative effectiveness studies to better inform choices between competing interventions. The answers to these questions should improve the operations and efficiency of a proven prevention, treatment or care intervention, and should be applicable across a broader range of targets, strategies, settings, and populations.
There is substantial expertise in the scientific community to address implementation science research questions, including questions in the fields of operations research, epidemiology, sociology, health economics, health services research, anthropology, statistics, political science, policy analysis, and ethics.
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