Community-Based Conservation Reduces Risk of HIV Infection and Spread
Robin Naidoo, World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
Kiersten Johnson, Macro International Inc.
Community-based conservation programs, whereby local communities design and actively participate in biodiversity conservation, have rarely been rigorously evaluated for their impacts on non-conservation outcomes, including human health. In this study, we evaluate the impact of a national community-based conservation program in Namibia on HIV-related risk behaviors (number of sexual partners) of conservancy residents relative to three comparison groups: all adults outside of conservancies, all adults in the nearest village outside of a conservancy, and adults from a quasi-experimental evaluation design. We used georeferenced DHS data from 2000 and 2006/2007 to assess whether changes in the trend of known HIV/AIDS risk behaviors were related to residence in communal conservancies. From 2000 to 2006/2007 there was a dramatic (>60%) decline in the reported number of sexual partners over the past year for men in conservancies, suggesting the program resulted in a reduction in the number of partners for residents of communal conservancies.