A novel economic intervention to reduce HIV risks among school-going AIDS orphans in rural Uganda

Case Studies & Research
5 p.
Periodical title
Journal of Adolescent Health

This study tested an economic intervention to reduce HIV risks among AIDS-orphaned adolescents. Adolescents (n = 96) were randomly assigned to receive the intervention or usual care for orphans in Uganda. All adolescents in the study received usual care for AIDS orphans in Uganda, which included peer counseling, health education, and scholastic materials. In addition, experimental adolescents received a family economic intervention, which included a Child/Youth Development Account (CDA) and six 2-hour classes on career planning, career goals, microfinance, and financial well-being. Data obtained at baseline and 12-month follow-up revealed significant differences between the treatment and control groups in HIV prevention attitudes and educational planning. At 12-month follow-up, experimental adolescents had improved their HIV prevention attitudes scores (from 17.2 to 18.5), whereas youth within the comparison condition revealed decreased scores (from 18.5 to 17.6). Experimental adolescents reported a significant increase in educational plans (88% to 96%), whereas youth in the comparison condition evidenced a decrease (93% to 83%). Savings outcomes data indicated that experimental adolescents saved an equivalent of US$8.85 monthly. With matching rate of 2:1, the average participant accumulated US$26.55 monthly or US$318.60 per year. This is an impressive amount in a poor country like Uganda, and was sufficient to cover a student's postprimary education for 2 years. (Participants in the control arm had no bank accounts.) These findings suggest that AIDS-orphaned adolescents can benefit from a simple and feasible family economic intervention.

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