Social Interventions for HIV/AIDS: Intervention with Microfinance

How can microfinance help in the fight against AIDS?
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This paper describes the evolution of the Interventions with Microfinance for AIDS and Gender Equity (IMAGE) initiative of the National Department of Health of South Africa. This country is in the midst of one of the fastest growing AIDS epidemics in the world, where HIV prevalence among public antenatal clinic clients has increased ten-fold, from 2.4% to 24.5% in the past decade.The paper states that strategies to combat AIDS have ignored the importance of environmental factors which may contribute to the spread of HIV. Some of these factors are:

  • Poverty and economic underdevelopment;
  • Mobility including migration, seasonal work;
  • Social disruption due to war and political instability;
  • Gender inequalities.The paper argues that microfinance has a central role in the IMAGE initiative as it is characterized by:
  • Loyal and captive clientele;
  • Social empowerment of women;
  • Positive impact on community health practices.

The authors build a case for incorporating a program of gender and HIV training into microfinance. Finally, the paper concludes with a detailed description of how the IMAGE intervention attempts to develop and integrate a program of participatory learning and community mobilization, into an existing microfinance initiative, to tackle AIDS.

About this Publication

By Kim, J.