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Community-based conservation reduces sexual risk factors for HIV among men
Authors: Robin Naidoo, and Kiersten Johnson
Source: Globalization and Health, 9: 27. doi: 10.1186/1744-8603-9-27
Topic(s): HIV/AIDS
Country: Africa
Published: JUL 2013
Abstract: Background Despite numerous programs to combat the global HIV and AIDS pandemic, infection rates remain high, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, where two-thirds of all people living with HIV reside. Here, we describe how we used rigorous program evaluation methods to assess the effectiveness of a community-based natural resource management program that “mainstreamed” HIV awareness and prevention activities within rural communities in Namibia. Findings We used data from two rounds of the Namibia Demographic and Health Surveys (2000 and 2006/2007) and quasi-experimental statistical methods to evaluate changes in critical health-related outcomes in men and women living in communal conservancies, relative to several non-conservancy comparison groups. Our final dataset included 117 men and 318 women in 2000, and 170 men and 357 women in 2006/2007. We evaluated the statistical significance of the main effects of survey year and conservancy residence, and a conservancy-year interaction term, using generalized linear models. Our analyses show that community-based conservation in Namibia has significantly reduced multiple sexual partnerships, the main behavioural determinant of HIV/AIDS infection in Africa. Conclusions Our results demonstrate the effectiveness of holistic community-based approaches centered on the preservation of lives and livelihoods, and highlight the potential benefits of integrating conservation and HIV prevention programming in other areas of communal land tenure in Africa. Keywords: HIV, Primary prevention, Environment and public health, Community-based natural resource management, Biodiversity conservation