This collaboration between the University of Pennslyvania and Wits Health Consortium seeks to end the world’s largest HIV epidemic by scaling up evidence-based behavioral interventions to increase uptake of HIV prevention and treatment services by a high-risk generation of 15-34 year-olds in South Africa.
Major scientific breakthroughs in recent years finally have made it possible to imagine a world without HIV/AIDS. Highly effective, life-saving prevention and treatment services are widely available. But the "last mile" challenge of human behavior—about 50 percent of individuals do not consistently use available HIV services—hinders greater success in reducing new HIV infections. Proven, low-cost behavioral interventions to close this gap exist but are not being implemented on a large scale.
This academic-public-private sector partnership will embed these interventions inside innovative service delivery models to increase HIV service coverage for the hardest-to-reach individuals. With strategic action now, HIV in South Africa can be eliminated and a pathway for global epidemic control can be created.
The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvaniawebsite: https://www.upenn.edu/
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In January 2020, this team established Indlela: Behavioural Insights for Better Health—a first-of-its-kind "nudge unit" that focuses on real-world application of behavioral economic insights to improve the effectiveness of HIV prevention and treatment services. Based in South Africa and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Indlela engages with a large network of implementing organizations and research institutions. An external advisory board is comprised of leading experts in HIV and in behavioral science. Through a series of capacity-building workshops and direct interactions, the partnership is increasing knowledge of behavioral economics among organizations delivering HIV services. It also is strengthening organizational capacity to develop and test innovative, low-cost behavioral interventions seeking to improve HIV outcomes. With these strong partnerships, the team is better positioned to support large-scale implementation of behavioral solutions to reduce the burden of HIV/AIDS. The partnership also is engaged in related work in Kenya and Uganda.