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Cash Transfer for HIV Prevention - 90% of Studies Measuring Change in Sexual Behaviours Found a Positive Impact


Strategy researched

Using cash for prevention of sexual transmission of HIV, with the purpose of the transfer varying by study (and conditionality or not): school attendance, school completion, poverty alleviation, and completion of health promotion activities, such as sexually transmitted infection (STI)/HIV testing

Impact achieved

Overall, the majority of studies that have measured a change in sexual behaviours found a positive impact (9/10). At 18-month follow up, one RCT (involving 1,289 individuals) - the Schooling, Income, and HIV Risk (SIHR) trial - found lower HIV and lower herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) prevalence among the intervention participants compared to the controls: HIV prevalence [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 0.36 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.14,0.91)] and HSV-2 prevalence [aOR: 0.24 (95% CI: 0.09,0.65)].

Countries of study


Research methodology

Systematic review with 16 studies, of which 15 are RCTs


The Lancet; 2012

Journal paper title and link

Can money prevent the spread of HIV? A review of cash payments for HIV prevention

Excerpt from Abstract

"Most have seen reductions in sexual behavior and one large trial has documented a difference in HIV prevalence between young women getting cash transfers and those not. Cash transfer programs focused on changing risky sexual behaviors to reduce HIV risk suggest promise. The context in which programs are situated, the purpose of the cash transfer, and the population will all affect the impact of such programs; ongoing RCTs with HIV incidence endpoints will shed more light on the efficacy of cash payments as strategy for HIV prevention."

Summary at this link


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The impact data presented meets the following high standard for inclusion criteria:

  • Positive change or trend in a priority development issue;
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  • Randomized Control Trial or Systematic Review methodology;
  • High quality peer review journal published;
  • Numeric impact data point
  • Published since 2010.