As HIV and AIDS simultaneously undermine livelihoods and household and community safety nets, families are especially vulnerable to poverty, food insecurity, and threats to their children’s nutrition, health, and education, with irreversible consequences. With more than 33.3 million people affected by HIV globally, a new focus on the risks for families and the long-term well-being of children has accelerated international, regional, and national commitments to social protection programs in heavily AIDS-affected countries.
Cash transfers have demonstrated a strong potential for reducing poverty and strengthening children’s education, health, and nutrition. As a result, they can play a critical role in a strategy for mitigating the impact of AIDS and reducing poverty-related drivers of HIV transmission. Cash transfers have been used increasingly in social protection systems in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. More recently these programs have begun to target children and families affected by HIV and AIDS. The urgency of cash assistance for food purchases is underscored by emerging evidence that better nutrition can slow AIDS disease progression.
In Social Protection and Cash Transfers to Strengthen Families Affected by HIV and AIDS, authors Michelle Adato and Lucy Bassett explain how cash transfer programs can make a difference for families affected by poverty and HIV and AIDS. The authors review the impacts of a range of cash transfer programs and discuss how these and other social protection programs can be designed to address the needs and conditions of families and children in regions hard hit by HIV and AIDS.