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      Community Mobilisation and Empowerment Interventions as Part of HIV Prevention for Female Sex Workers in Southern India: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis


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          Most HIV prevention for female sex workers (FSWs) focuses on individual behaviour change involving peer educators, condom promotion and the provision of sexual health services. However, there is a growing recognition of the need to address broader societal, contextual and structural factors contributing to FSW risk behaviour. We assess the cost-effectiveness of adding community mobilisation (CM) and empowerment interventions (eg. community mobilisation, community involvement in programme management and services, violence reduction, and addressing legal policies and police practices), to core HIV prevention services delivered as part of Avahan in two districts (Bellary and Belgaum) of Karnataka state, Southern India.


          An ingredients approach was used to estimate economic costs in US$ 2011 from an HIV programme perspective of CM and empowerment interventions over a seven year period (2004–2011). Incremental impact, in terms of HIV infections averted, was estimated using a two-stage process. An ‘exposure analysis’ explored whether exposure to CM was associated with FSW’s empowerment, risk behaviours and HIV/STI prevalence. Pathway analyses were then used to estimate the extent to which behaviour change may be attributable to CM and to inform a dynamic HIV transmission model.


          The incremental costs of CM and empowerment were US$ 307,711 in Belgaum and US$ 592,903 in Bellary over seven years (2004–2011). Over a 7-year period (2004–2011) the mean (standard deviation, sd.) number of HIV infections averted through CM and empowerment is estimated to be 1257 (308) in Belgaum and 2775 (1260) in Bellary. This translates in a mean (sd.) incremental cost per disability adjusted life year (DALY) averted of US$ 14.12 (3.68) in Belgaum and US$ 13.48 (6.80) for Bellary - well below the World Health Organisation recommended willingness to pay threshold for India. When savings from ART are taken into account, investments in CM and empowerment are cost saving.


          Our findings suggest that CM and empowerment is, at worst, highly cost-effective and, at best, a cost-saving investment from an HIV programme perspective. CM and empowerment interventions should therefore be considered as core components of HIV prevention programmes for FSWs.

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          The social structural production of HIV risk among injecting drug users.

          There is increasing appreciation of the need to understand how social and structural factors shape HIV risk. Drawing on a review of recently published literature, we seek to describe the social structural production of HIV risk associated with injecting drug use. We adopt an inclusive definition of the HIV 'risk environment' as the space, whether social or physical, in which a variety of factors exogenous to the individual interact to increase vulnerability to HIV. We identify the following factors as critical in the social structural production of HIV risk associated with drug injecting: cross-border trade and transport links; population movement and mixing; urban or neighbourhood deprivation and disadvantage; specific injecting environments (including shooting galleries and prisons); the role of peer groups and social networks; the relevance of 'social capital' at the level of networks, communities and neighbourhoods; the role of macro-social change and political or economic transition; political, social and economic inequities in relation to ethnicity, gender and sexuality; the role of social stigma and discrimination in reproducing inequity and vulnerability; the role of policies, laws and policing; and the role of complex emergencies such as armed conflict and natural disasters. We argue that the HIV risk environment is a product of interplay in which social and structural factors intermingle but where political-economic factors may play a predominant role. We therefore emphasise that much of the most needed 'structural HIV prevention' is unavoidably political in that it calls for community actions and structural changes within a broad framework concerned to alleviate inequity in health, welfare and human rights.
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            Towards an improved investment approach for an effective response to HIV/AIDS.

            Substantial changes are needed to achieve a more targeted and strategic approach to investment in the response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic that will yield long-term dividends. Until now, advocacy for resources has been done on the basis of a commodity approach that encouraged scaling up of numerous strategies in parallel, irrespective of their relative effects. We propose a strategic investment framework that is intended to support better management of national and international HIV/AIDS responses than exists with the present system. Our framework incorporates major efficiency gains through community mobilisation, synergies between programme elements, and benefits of the extension of antiretroviral therapy for prevention of HIV transmission. It proposes three categories of investment, consisting of six basic programmatic activities, interventions that create an enabling environment to achieve maximum effectiveness, and programmatic efforts in other health and development sectors related to HIV/AIDS. The yearly cost of achievement of universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support by 2015 is estimated at no less than US$22 billion. Implementation of the new investment framework would avert 12·2 million new HIV infections and 7·4 million deaths from AIDS between 2011 and 2020 compared with continuation of present approaches, and result in 29·4 million life-years gained. The framework is cost effective at $1060 per life-year gained, and the additional investment proposed would be largely offset from savings in treatment costs alone. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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              Addressing social drivers of HIV/AIDS for the long-term response: conceptual and methodological considerations.

              A key component of the shift from an emergency to a long-term response to AIDS is a change in focus from HIV prevention interventions focused on individuals to a comprehensive strategy in which social/structural approaches are core elements. Such approaches aim to modify social conditions by addressing key drivers of HIV vulnerability that affect the ability of individuals to protect themselves and others from HIV. The development and implementation of evidence-based social/structural interventions have been hampered by both scientific and political obstacles that have not been fully explored or redressed. This paper provides a framework, examples, and some guidance for how to conceptualise, operationalise, measure, and evaluate complex social/structural approaches to HIV prevention to help situate them more concretely in a long-term strategy to end AIDS.

                Author and article information

                Role: Editor
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                21 October 2014
                : 9
                : 10
                : e110562
                [1 ]London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom
                [2 ]St John's Research Institute, Bangalore, India
                [3 ]Imperial College, London, United Kingdom
                [4 ]Karnataka Health Promotion Trust, Bangalore, India
                [5 ]URESP, Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec, Québec, Canada
                [6 ]Département de médecine sociale et préventive, Université Laval, Québec, Canada
                UNAIDS, Trinidad And Tobago
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Conceived and designed the experiments: AV SC MP TB GS PB MB PV JB MA SM CW CHARME India Group. Performed the experiments: AV SC MP TB GS PB MB PV JB MA SM CW. Analyzed the data: AV SC MP TB GS PB MB PV JB MA SM CW. Wrote the paper: AV SC MP TB GS PB MB PV JB MA SM CW.

                ¶ Membership of the CHARME India Group is provided in the Acknowledgments.

                Copyright @ 2014

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                : 13 December 2013
                : 19 September 2014
                Page count
                Pages: 10
                The funder of this work was the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
                Research Article
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Medical Microbiology
                Microbial Pathogens
                Viral Pathogens
                Immunodeficiency Viruses
                Medicine and health sciences
                Health Care
                Health Economics
                Socioeconomic Aspects of Health
                Infectious Diseases
                Viral Diseases
                Sexually Transmitted Diseases
                Public and occupational health
                Preventive medicine
                HIV prevention
                Global Health
                Women's Health
                Social Sciences
                Economic Analysis
                Cost-Effectiveness Analysis
                Economic Models



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