AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 17, Issue 6, pp 2260–2268

Color-Coded Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interviews (C-ACASI) for Poorly Educated Men and Women in a Semi-rural Area of South India: “Good, Scary and Thrilling”

  • Tarun Bhatnagar
  • Joelle Brown
  • P. Sakthivel Saravanamurthy
  • Raju Mohan Kumar
  • Roger Detels
Original Paper


It is challenging to collect accurate and complete data on sensitive issues such as sexual behaviors. Our objective was to explore experience and perceptions regarding the use of a locally programmed color-coded audio computer-assisted self interview (C-ACASI) system among men and women in a semi-rural setting in south India. We conducted a mixed-methods cross-sectional survey using semi-structured interviews among 89 truck drivers and 101 truck driver wives who had participated earlier in the C-ACASI survey across a predominantly rural district in Tamil Nadu. To assess the color-coded format used, descriptive quantitative analysis was coupled with thematic content analysis of qualitative data. Only 10 % of participants had ever used a computer before. Nearly 75 % did not report any problem in using C-ACASI. The length of the C-ACASI survey was acceptable to 98 % of participants. Overall, 87 % of wives and 73 % of truck drivers stated that C-ACASI was user-friendly and felt comfortable in responding to the sensitive questions. Nearly all (97 %) participants reported that using C-ACASI encouraged them to respond honestly compared to face-to-face personal interviews. Both the drivers and wives expressed that C-ACASI provided confidentiality, privacy, anonymity, and an easy mechanism for responding truthfully to potentially embarrassing questions about their personal sexual relationships. It is feasible and acceptable to use C-ACASI for collecting sensitive data from poorly computer-literate, non-English-speaking, predominantly rural populations of women and men. Our findings support the implementation of effective and culturally sensitive C-ACASI for data collection, albeit with additional validation.


Color-coded ACASI Computer interview Sensitive questions Acceptability Rural India 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tarun Bhatnagar
    • 1
    • 2
  • Joelle Brown
    • 3
  • P. Sakthivel Saravanamurthy
    • 4
  • Raju Mohan Kumar
    • 5
  • Roger Detels
    • 2
  1. 1.National Institute of Epidemiology, Indian Council of Medical ResearchChennaiIndia
  2. 2.Department of EpidemiologyUCLA Fielding School of Public HealthLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyUniversity of California, San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  4. 4.Voluntary Health Services – CHARTEREDChennaiIndia
  5. 5.State Health SocietyNational Rural Health Mission, Government of Tamil NaduChennaiIndia

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