• DSHS HIV/STD Program
    Post Office Box 149347, MC 1873
    Austin, TX 78714

    Phone: 737-255-4300

    Email the HIV/STD Program

    Email HIV, STD, Hepatitis C, and TB data requests to the Program – Use this email to request Texas HIV, STD, Hepatitis C, and TB data and statistics. Do not use this email to request treatment or infection history for individuals, or to request information on programs or services. Do not email personal, identifying health information such as HIV status, date of birth, or Social Security Number.

    For treatment/testing history, please contact your local health department.

    For information on HIV testing and services available to persons living with HIV, please contact your local HIV services organization.

Community Assessment Tools and External Resources for Prevention Contractors

Introduction to Community Assessment Tools

Community assessments typically address one or more of the following areas of concern:

  • Needs of the population
  • Agency capacity to meet the needs of the population
  • Community capacity to meet needs of the population

This page provides links to samples of tools used to collect information for these purposes, as well as links to general information about community assessment. In planning for a community assessment, it is not necessary to limit your search for data collection tools to traditional surveys. Observational tools can provide very useful insights into community need, especially when data is collected by people who are very familiar with the community. The “Condom Access Data Collection Form” and “Population Needs Observational Report” are examples of observational tools.


Needs of the population

Prevention programs can use population needs assessments to shape their future programming or refined current programming. Assessments of population needs collect the following information:

  • Demographic information (age, race/ethnicity, gender, etc.)
  • Risk behaviors and factors associated with risk (unprotected sex, multiple partners, drug use, etc.)
  • Knowledge of HIV/STD transmission/prevention
  • Services they would like to see in the community
  • Observations of behavior patterns within the daily lives of the target population
  • When, where, and how services are needed to meet the needs of the target population

This information is typically collected in one-on-one interviews, mailed or emailed surveys, and/or focus groups. Focus groups are often used to develop an understanding of issues of greatest importance which are then addressed in a community wide survey. In some cases, before interview/survey data can be collected, respondents must be given some type of informed consent. It can be either spoken or written in form.


Agency capacity to meet the needs of the population

Prevention programs can optimize the fit between the resources they have and can build by assessing their capacity to meet the needs for services they identify in the population. Needs include what services are needed, as well as when, where, and how they can be delivered. These assessments can be drawn from the understandings of their staff as well as their clients.


Community capacity to meet the needs of the population

Prevention programs seeking to optimize the efforts by coordinating their work with other programs will benefit from a community wide assessment of programming capacity. This type of assessment could involve one or more of the following:

  • community wide population surveys
  • key informant interviews
  • observations of community sites and resources
  • survey of prevention programs in the community, and a study of attempts to coordinate services across programs, including planning group and task force documents


A Note on Sample Tools Provided

The tools provided here have been developed and used by prevention programs in the state of Texas. Rather than simply adopting one, programs would be served well to determine the exact goals of their community assessment and to identify components of these various data collection tools that would help them get the information they seek.


Sample Tools

Population Needs

Observation Report Tool (DOC)

Personal Risk and Interest (DOC)

Personal Risk Survey 1 (DOC)

Personal Risk Survey 2 (DOC)

Personal Risk Survey 3 (DOC)

Personal Risk Survey 4 (DOC)

Agency Capacity

Population Access Strategy (DOC)

Programmatic Needs Assessment (DOC)

Recruitment and Retention Plan (DOC)

Community Capacity

Community Assessment Survey (DOC)

Key Informant Interview Guide (DOC)


Informed Consent for Population Survey (DOC)

Focus Group Instructions (DOC)

Condom Access Data Collection Form (DOC)


External Resources for HIV Prevention Programs

Community Assessment & Community Mobilization Resources

CDC’s Health Communities Program: “Community Health Assessment and Group Evaluation: Building a Foundation of Knowledge to Prioritize Community Needs”

University of Kansas Community Tool Box

Internet & Social Media Tools

HIV.gov - Digital Tools

STD Prevention Online

Promising Interventions & Practices

CDC Diffusion of Effective Behavioral Interventions

CDC Replicating Effective Programs

Canadian Best Practice Portal (Health Promotion & Prevention)

Tools of Change | HIV/AIDS

Disclaimer: Information posted on this webpage is provided as reference tool for contractors. The content does not necessarily represent the views of the Texas Department of State Health Services nor is it endorsed by DSHS. Contractors are required to obtain the appropriate permissions when replicating or dispersing any materials.

Last updated May 20, 2021