Polling booth surveys: a novel approach for reducing social desirability bias in HIV-related behavioural surveys in resource-poor settings

AIDS Behav. 2012 May;16(4):1054-62. doi: 10.1007/s10461-011-0004-1.


This study compared rates of HIV-related sexual risk behaviours reported in individual face-to-face (FTFI) and group anonymous polling booth (PBS) interviews in India. In PBS, respondents grouped by gender and marital status answered yes/no questions by putting tokens with question numbers in colour-coded containers. Data were subsequently collated for each group as a whole, so responses were not traceable back to individuals. Male and female PBS participants reported substantially higher rates of pre-marital, extra-marital, commercial and anal sex than FTFI participants; e.g. 11 vs. 2% married males reported paying for sex; 6 vs. 1% unmarried males reported homosexual anal sex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Condoms / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • HIV Seropositivity / epidemiology*
  • HIV Seropositivity / psychology
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Marital Status / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sampling Studies
  • Sexual Partners* / psychology
  • Social Desirability*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Truth Disclosure
  • Young Adult