Social protection programmes contribute to HIV prevention

Social protection programmes contribute to HIV prevention brief.pdf

This policy brief describes the pathways through which social protection measures address the social, economic and structural drivers of HIV in adolescents.  Co-authored by UNICEF and the Economic Policy Research Institute (EPRI), the brief draws evidence from both national-scale programmes and more limited proof-of-concept studies, with an emphasis on sub-Saharan Africa. It demonstrates that, through mechanisms such as cash transfers, social protection programmes can help to prevent HIV by:

  • reducing risky sexual behaviour by addressing structural drivers of HIV risk
  • reducing economic insecurity by increasing school enrolment and attendance and promoting gender equality
  • improving access to healthcare such as uptake of HIV treatment and care, which reduce vulnerability to HIV

Policy recommendations

  • Promote social protection programmes as critical mechanisms of the HIV prevention response
  • Leverage existing social protection programmes to maximize impacts on HIV prevention
  • Carefully consider the target populations and the potential direct and indirect impacts of various implementation strategies
  • Note that cash incentives for remaining HIV negative are not an alternative to inclusive social protection
  • Encourage and promote further research into evidence gaps

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