Using good old $ to promote safe sex and prevent HIV infection
Behold the power of the moolah. The World Bank has just released new studies that show they can significantly lower the infection rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases by paying people to do (or not do) something:
In the first study, a two-year program rewarded young girls in Malawi, rife with poverty and high HIV infection rates, with cash payments for regular school attendance. In Tanzania, the Bank paid young adults in cash to avoid unsafe sex…
The studies “show the potential for using cash payments to prevent people, especially women and girls, from engaging in unsafe sex while also ensuring that they stay in school and get the full benefit of an education,” said David Wilson, who heads the Bank’s global HIV/AIDS program.
In the education study in Malawi’s Zomba district, which has both high HIV rates and school dropout rates among young girls, the World Bank found cash payments for at least 75 percent school attendance each month reduced infection rates by 60 percent, compared to an unpaid control group.
“Girls who received payments not only had less sex, but when they did, they tended to choose younger, safer partners,” the World Bank said in a statement on the studies, which were released on the first day of the 18th International AIDS Conference in Vienna.
Cash transfers, the institution said, enabled a significant drop in what is called “transactional sex” among girls and young women who trade intercourse for assistance, gifts or money.