Uganda's massive decline in HIV infections is attributable to communication about AIDS within local social networks and personal knowledge of someone with AIDS or HIV.
These factors are linked to major changes in sexual behaviour based on risk avoidance, and a reduction in casual sex in particular, according to research published in Science.
The study reports that the number of HIV-positive Ugandans has fallen from 1.5 million to 500,000 in the past decade — a success rate equivalent to a vaccine of 80 per cent effectiveness. These findings should encourage a re-think of global HIV/AIDS intervention policies, the researchers say.
Reference: Science 304, 714 (2004)