Researchers reported that a two-year behavioral intervention aimed at reducing HIV incidence rates among young people in Lesotho was successful in lowering HIV infections 39 percent among young women. The study recruited 3,426 men and women ages 18–32 from 29 Lesotho villages to be in one of three randomly selected groups: a control group that received no intervention, a high-value lottery group ($100 ticket), and a low-value lottery group ($50 ticket). All participants received baseline HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing, STI treatment as needed, and counseling every four months. All participants also took HIV tests at 16, 20, and 24 months.
Those who tested negative for syphilis and Trichomonas vaginalis received a lottery ticket, with drawings held every four months in each village. Only ticket holders who remained STI-free were eligible. Although the intervention had no effect on HIV incidence among male participants, HIV incidence decreased by 33 percent among young women in the high- and low-value arms of the study.
A Vancouver, Canada, study also used financial incentives successfully to encourage drug users to have HIV tests and return for test results. Intervention participants had far better results (100 percent tested, 83 percent returned for results) than a control group (32 percent tested, 11 percent returned for results).
An abstract of the report, “Evaluating the Impact of Short Term Financial Incentives on HIV and STI Incidence among Youth in Lesotho: A Randomized Trial,” was published online by the Seventh IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment, and Prevention at http://pag.ias2013.org/abstracts.aspx?aid=553
An abstract of the report, “Use of Modest Financial Incentives to Improve Engagement of Drug Users in HIV Testing and Follow-up: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial,” was published online by the Seventh IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment, and Prevention at http://pag.ias2013.org/abstracts.aspx?aid=2598