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Cash to stay in school doesn’t reduce HIV incidence in South African study – but school attendance protected young women against HIV
Keith Alcorn, 2015-07-22 03:10:00

A conditional cash transfer to the households of adolescent girls to promote school attendance did not reduce HIV incidence in a randomised study in rural South Africa, Audrey Pettifor of the University of North Carolina reported on Tuesday at the Eighth International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Vancouver.

Although receipt of the cash transfer was not associated with reduced HIV incidence, it was associated with a lower rate of unprotected sexual intercourse compared to a control group.

The study also found that dropping out of school, or poor school attendance, was associated with a significantly higher rate of HIV incidence in young women. The finding confirms observations in several African countries which show that education has a protective effect against HIV infection both during the school years and afterwards for young women.

A second study, CAPRISA 007, showed that a conditional cash transfer to young women and men tied to HIV testing, participation in life skills training and academic attainment reduced the incidence of HSV-2 by 30% but did not have an impact on HIV incidence.

In both studies HIV incidence was low and this may well have limited the power the studies to show any effect of the interventions on HIV incidence.