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Copenhagen Consensus Center

Rethink HIV: Preventing Sexual Transmission Perspective, Whiteside

Perspective Paper

The authors, Behrman and Kohler (2011) describe how they arrive at possible solutions for prevention of sexual transmission of HIV infections in SSA. There are initially three criteria for interventions:

  • Those for which there is reasonably strong empirical evidence from multiple countries about the efficacy—and possibly even effectiveness—of the intervention;
  • ones seen as important elements in HIV/AIDS prevention efforts by international organizations and local governments; and
  • Interventions where reasonable estimates of benefits and costs could be obtained.

The question is what works? They recognise “considerable uncertainty about the efficacy and/or effectiveness of programme interventions to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV. Ultimately, under any of the criteria stated above, only programmes that reduce HIV risk behaviours, HIV infection risks and/or HIV incidence should be considered”. (Behrman and Kohler 2011) They recognise evidence - as to which interventions make a difference - is weak.

A Perspective Paper has been written on Preventing Sexual Transmission of HIV by Alan Whiteside, Professor, Economic Research Unit and Director of Health Economics and HIV/AIDS Research Division, University of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa.Each Perspective Paper reviews the assumptions and analyses made within the Assessment Paper. In this way, a range of informed perspectives are provided on the topic.