HIV-Sensitive Social Protection: What does the evidence say?

Organization(s): IDS, UNAIDS, UNICEF
Author: Miriam Temin
Year: 2010
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Social protection increases the resilience of households to shock and reduces barriers to essential services. When done well, it is based on a comprehensive assessment of risks and vulnerabilities, including those related to HIV and AIDS. A social protection strategy and its constituent programmes are designed to reduce, mitigate and help people cope with identified risks and vulnerabilities. Therefore, it has the potential to reduce the economic and social determinants of vulnerability to HIV and its consequences, as the many examples set out in this document show.

However, as illustrated by the Pune example, it cannot be assumed that social protection programmes are designed with HIV in mind; therefore, existing programmes may not adequately address the needs of people living with and affected by HIV. This paper looks at social protection as an opportunity to respond to the needs of vulnerable people living with and affected by HIV, as much as to other vulnerable populations. When a new programme is designed, HIV should be taken into account as one source of vulnerability, and existing programmes should be operationalized in an HIV-sensitive manner.

This paper summarizes the evidence on the appropriateness of different social protection instruments for promoting Universal Access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. This paper describes targeting considerations relevant to people and households affected by HIV, and proposes what can be achieved by linking social protection and HIV through further research.

The genesis of this paper was the recognition that the interaction between HIV and social protection was gaining increasing attention in the light of the UNAIDS business case on social protection (UNAIDS 2010) among other things. However, there is a need to interrogate the evidence on the complex relationships between social protection and Universal Access outcomes, to understand what works in what contexts and the key evidence gaps.

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