The Impact of a National Poverty Program on the Sex Partner Characteristics of Adolescents in Kenya

Molly S. Rosenberg, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Audrey Pettifor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

A recent evaluation of the Kenyan Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children program (CT-OVC) reported evidence for a reduction in HIV risk behavior among adolescents in grant receiving-households in the form of delayed sexual debut. It has been proposed that cash transfer programs may also reduce HIV risk by influencing the characteristics of the people adolescents choose as sexual partners. We examined the 4-year impact of CT-OVC on partner age, partner enrollment in school, and transactional sex-based relationships among 684 adolescents. We found no significant impact of the program on partner characteristics overall; however, estimates varied widely by gender, age, schooling, and socio-economic status. We propose several potential explanations for the lack of observed association between CT-OVC and sex partner characteristics. Overall, these results highlight the importance of context in exploring the potential HIV preventive effects of cash transfers.

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Presented in Poster Session 4