Cash reward with counselling may help fight STIs

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Washington, July 20 (ANI): Giving cash rewards along with counselling might prove effective in combating sexually transmitted infections in rural Africa, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, the Development Research Group at the World Bank and the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania found that people who were offered up to 60 dollars each over 12 months to stay free of STIs had a 25 percent lower prevalence of those infections after a year compared to those who were not eligible for the money.

"Although we cannot directly measure risky behavior, the fact that disease prevalence decreased suggests that the incentives worked," said study author Will Dow, UC Berkeley professor of health economics.

The conditional cash transfer program is becoming an increasingly popular concept in the public health field that essentially rewards desirable behaviour with money.

"This study is the first to show that cash rewards can reduce STI prevalence, and is a key step in determining whether it is worthwhile to launch a larger study to test whether cash rewards could in fact slow the HIV epidemic," said Dow.

While the impact of the cash incentives did not differ between males and females, the impact was larger among people with lower incomes. (ANI)

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