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HIV prevention breakthrough

2012 February 16

Yesterday, the Lancet published a randomized controlled trial of an intervention that cut the rate of new HIV infections in half among young women in Malawi. I consider this to be an astounding result. It avoids the drawbacks of all the previously known approaches to individual protection: it is more effective than any experimental HIV vaccine, it is known to be completely safe and easy to administer without any specialized training (unlike male circumcision), it is already very well accepted by the population (unlike condoms), and it costs only three dollars a month for one person (unlike prophylactic ARVs). Can you guess what it was?

It was THREE DOLLARS A MONTH.

Yes, they simply gave money to poor young women, no strings attached. Think what you would do with an extra three dollars a month. Not even notice, right? These women escaped a miserable and premature death from HIV, and they probably had other benefits too. I… I think I have to go lie down for a while. This study has so many implications it’s making my head spin. I will come back to this.

Via the EconomistThe original article is here (subscription required, unfortunately).

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