In March 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) convened a consultation meeting to explore microenterprise as a potential human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) prevention intervention. The impulse to link microenterprise with HIV/AIDS prevention was driven by the fact that poverty is a significant factor contributing to the risk for infection. Because increasingly high rates of HIV infection are occurring among women, particularly among poor African American women in the southern United States, we focused the consultation on microenterprise as an intervention among that population.
In the international arena, income generated by microenterprise has contributed to improving family and community health outcomes. This article summarizes the contributions made to the consultation by participants from the diverse fields of microenterprise, microfinance, women's studies, and public health. The article ends with recommendations for HIV/AIDS prevention and, by implication, addressing other public health challenges, through the development of multifaceted intervention approaches.