Two cash-transfer programs are aimed at reducing the spread of HIV, and early indicators suggest more programs in the future.
The South Africa Node writes,
"In Tanzania and Malawi, two large randomised trials involving cash incentives are showing promise in reducing sexually-transmitted infection. The Malawi program gave girls ages 13 to 22 and their parents as much as $15 each month if the girls attended school regularly. A year later, more schoolgirls receiving cash (95%) stayed in school than the control group (89%) and 18 months after the program began in January 2008, biomarker data show that HIV infection rates among girls who received cash was 1.2% versus the control group’s 3%. The Tanzania study was designed to directly expand conditional transfers to encourage the prevention of sexually-transmitted diseases. But it differs from traditional transfer programs in that the participants weren’t youth, but adults and, it didn’t pay participants to do something, but paid them not to do something i.e. have unsafe sex.
The two-year program, which has cost about $2 million already, is funded by the Global Development Network, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, World Bank funds such as the Knowledge for Change Program, the Spanish Impact Evaluation Fund, the Bank’s Research Support Budget, and others."
The South Africa Node quotes Adam Wagstaff of the World Bank’s Development Research Group: "[the studies are] using cash incentives to persuade people to change their behaviour in a way that benefits them in the medium term. The first results are promising and suggest that the idea of using incentives as a tool for HIV prevention should be further explored and tested."
IFTF adds that long-term impacts on perceptions of health and healthy behaviors have not been studied.
South Africa Node Aug 2010, pg. 7
Mail and Guardian, July 30 to August 5 2010