The impact of conditional cash transfers for HIV prevention on peer relationships: perspectives from female recipients and non-recipients in HPTN 068

Publication Name

BMC Public Health


CCTs are currently being explored for HIV prevention among adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in Southern Africa. However, little is known about how CCT geared towards adolescents’ influence peer relationships, despite evidence that peer relationships form a critical part of development in adolescence. This article presents findings from a qualitative study that explored CCT recipients’ and non-recipients’ perspectives on the impact of CCTs paid to AGYW on peer relationships. HPTN 068 was a randomised controlled trial that assessed whether providing CCT to AGYW and their households reduces AGYW’s risk of acquiring HIV. As part of this trial, we conducted interviews and focus group discussions with sub-samples of AGYW (n = 39), who were both cash recipients and non-recipients. Through content analysis, we explored ways in which the CCT positively or negatively impacted on peer relationships. From the recipients’ viewpoint, the CCT improved their social standing within their peer groups. It facilitated peer identity and promoted social connectedness among AGYW receiving the CCT. Receipt of the CCT enabled AGYW to resemble and behave like their peers who had money, allowing their poverty to become “invisible”. The CCT facilitated social interactions, information sharing, and instrumental social support among AGYW. CCT recipients experienced an increase in their social capital, evident in their ability to network, share, and reciprocate with others. However, the CCT also evoked negative emotions such as jealousy, anxiety, and resentment among non-recipients and led to a deterioration of personal relationships. CCTs have enormous benefits for AGYW, but they may also have a negative impact on peer relationships. The implementation of HIV prevention interventions focused on structural drivers needs to be conscious of these dynamics and ensure that the negative consequences do not outweigh benefits.

Open Access Status

This publication may be available as open access





Article Number


Funding Number

UM1 AI068619

Funding Sponsor

National Institutes of Health



Link to publisher version (DOI)