Structural drivers and social protection: mechanisms of HIV risk and HIV prevention for South African adolescents

Structural drivers and social protection - mechanisms of HIV risk and HIV prevention for South African adolescents.pdf

Social protection is high on the HIV-prevention agenda for youth in sub-Saharan Africa, but questions remain.

  • How do unconditional cash transfers work?
  • What is the effect of augmenting cash provision with social care?
  • Can “cash plus care” social protection reduce risks for adolescents most vulnerable to infection?

This study tackled these questions by first identifying mediated pathways to adolescent HIV risks and then examining potential main and moderating effects of social protection in South Africa. As Lucy Cluver et al explain, the results gathered from the observational study of 3,515 adolescents aged 10-17 from both rural and urban districts of South Africa showed that:

  • adolescents with the greatest structural deprivation are at higher risk of HIV
  • social protection has the greatest prevention effects for the most vulnerable
  • social protection comprising unconditional cash plus care was associated with reduced risk pathways through moderation and main effects, respectively
  • it is important to combine social protection within a combination package of HIV-prevention approaches

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