You know how I constantly stress the connection between environment and behavior? Have you heard me say repeatedly that if you want to change a person’s behavior, you don’t preach at them — you change the environment so that they want to behave you’d like.
Well, here’s powerful proof of concept:
In covering the microbicidal gel results, the NYT also mentions a study of 3800 Malawian girls that finds that small cash payments to them and their families – between $1 and $10 per month – reduce HIV infection rates. Just 1.2 per cent of the girls who received cash contracted HIV after 18 months, compared to 3 percent of the girls who did not receive payments. The larger the payment the less likely the girls were to turn to older men for sex, cash and gifts, underscoring the link between poverty and HIV.
Crazy concept, huh? People have more risky sex the poorer they get. So…. make them less poor and they’ll have less risky sex.
Of course, I guess we could just try the Pope’s way and take away their condoms and let them stay poor. That could work.