Impact of Stepping Stones on incidence of HIV, HSV-2 and IPV in rural South Africa
This study evaluated the impact of Stepping Stones, a participatory group and community-based prevention programme, on sexual behaviours and sexual health outcomes- including HIV, Herpes Simplex Type 2 (HSV-2) and Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)- in rural villages in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Villages were randomised to either receive the 50-hour intervention focusing on knowledge building, risk awareness, communication and critical reflection, or a 3-hour information session about HIV and safer sex.
This study found no evidence that the Stepping Stones intervention impacted HIV incidence, though incidence of laboratory- confirmed HSV-2 was reduced, as were self-reports of sexual risk behaviours among male participants, including lower levels of IPV perpetration. Female participants did not report fewer sexual risk behaviours nor lower levels of IPV victimisation.