Cash transfers for HIV prevention: Considering their potential

Lori Heise, Brian Lutz, Meghna Ranganathan, Charlotte Watts

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Introduction: Cash payments to vulnerable households and/or individuals have increasingly garnered attention as a means to reduce poverty, improve health and achieve other development-related outcomes. Recent evidence from Malawi and Tanzania suggests that cash transfers can impact HIV-related behaviours and outcomes and, therefore, could serve as an important addition to HIV prevention efforts. Discussion: This article reviews the current evidence on cash transfers for HIV prevention and suggests unresolved questions for further research. Gaps include (1) understanding more about the mechanisms and pathways through which cash transfers affect HIV-related outcomes; (2) addressing key operational questions, including the potential feasibility and the costs and benefits of different models of transfers and conditionality; and (3) evaluating and enhancing the wider impacts of cash transfers on health and development. Conclusions: Ongoing and future studies should build on current findings to unpack unresolved questions and to collect additional evidence on the multiple impacts of transfers in different settings. Furthermore, in order to address questions on sustainability, cash transfer programmes need to be integrated with other sectors and programmes that address structural factors such as education and programming to promote gender equality and address HIV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number18615
JournalJournal of the International AIDS Society
StatePublished - Aug 23 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Cash transfers and HIV
  • Conditional cash transfers (CCTs) and HIV
  • HIV and incentives
  • Social protection and HIV
  • Structural drivers and HIV

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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