Original Research

AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 462-469

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Microfinance and HIV/AIDS Prevention: Assessing its Promise and Limitations

  • Shari L. DworkinAffiliated withDepartment of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of California at San Francisco Email author 
  • , Kim BlankenshipAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology and Duke Global Health Institute, Duke University


Researchers increasingly argue that poverty and gender inequality exacerbate the spread of HIV/AIDS and that economic empowerment can therefore assist in the prevention and mitigation of the disease, particularly for women. This paper critically evaluates such claims. First, we examine the promises and limits of integrated HIV/AIDS prevention and microfinance programs by examining the available evidence base. We then propose future research agendas and next steps that may help to clear current ambiguities about the potential for economic programs to contribute to HIV/AIDS risk reduction efforts.


Economic interventions Microenterprise HIV/AIDS prevention Gender relations Gender equality Women’s HIV/AIDS risk