The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is spending $398,213 on a project studying whether paying male Mexican sex workers for being free of sexually transmitted diseases will increase condom use.
The study, “Conditional Economic Incentives to Reduce HIV Risks: A Pilot in Mexico,” began in June 2011 and is funded through the end of May 2014.
“The working hypothesis is that a program with modest economic incentives to stay free of sexually transmitted infections (STI) can be implemented among MSW (male sex workers) to incentivize condom use and reduction of sex partners,” the abstract of the study says. “We hypothesize that CEI (conditional economic incentives) treatment groups will exhibit greater program participation and retention rates as compared to the control group.”
The study includes male prostitutes in Mexico City, who first must attend a workshop on the benefits of condom use and “condom negotiation” before they are broken up into smaller groups.
According to the study abstract, one group of 100 individuals will “receive low incentive ($200 pesos/each time) only if they are free of STIs at months 6 and 12.”
Another group of 100 will receive high incentives “($500 pesos/each time) if they are free of STIs at months 6 and 12.”
The control group of 100 does not receive any money regardless if they are STI free or not.
Attempts by CNSNews.com to contact Project Leader Dr. Omar Galarraga of Brown University to discuss the study went unreturned.
However, some early results of Dr. Galarraga’s findings were recently published in The European Journal of Health Economics.
A Brown University article on the publication quotes Galarraga: ‘We’re trying to prevent HIV from spreading and we are trying to save money,’ said public health economist Omar Galarraga, assistant professor of health services policy and practice and lead author of the study published in the European Journal of Health Economics.”