Study finds social, economic benefits

People living with HIV in communities with universal access to HIV testing and treatment were 10% more likely to be employed than those receiving care according to national guidelines, a randomised study in rural Kenya and Uganda has shown. They were also 10% less likely to seek health care and 13% less likely to spend money on health care, and their children were 7% more likely to complete primary school, Aidsmap reports. At baseline, all communities received health campaigns that included services such as screening for HIV, hypertension and cervical cancer; referrals for male medical circumcision; and de-worming treatment for children, and any participants testing positive for HIV were linked to care. These campaigns were repeated annually in the intervention communities only. The authors of the study, which was published in The Lancet Global Health, conclude that the results “indicate that universal HIV testing and ART provision combined with streamlined care delivery generate substantial socioeconomic benefits for individuals and households in rural Africa” (Aidsmap, 8 February 2022).