Knowledge as Prevention: The Effect of New Information on Stigma and HIV Testing

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Laura Derksen

(Amgen Canada Professor of Health Systems Strategy, University of Toronto)

Friday, November 30th, 2018, 10 AM – 12 PM, HS 412 (155 College Street)

Abstract: Nearly one million people die of AIDS every year despite the existence of effective treatment in the form of antiretroviral therapy (ART). The recent discovery that ART prevents HIV transmission has lead to a widespread policy of treatment-as-prevention (TasP). However, in many settings the demand for HIV testing remains low. I will present the results of a cluster randomized controlled trial in Malawi. Our intervention consists of community information sessions on TasP. We inform participants that a person who is treated for HIV is much less contagious than a person who is not treated. We show that this intervention reduces stigma towards those who seek treatment for HIV and increases HIV testing.

Biography: Laura Derksen in an applied economist with research interests in global health and development. She combines randomized field experiments with administrative health records to investigate the link between information, social interactions, and health seeking behavior. Her recent work focuses on understanding low demand for HIV testing and treatment in southern Africa.

Breakfast refreshments will be served.