The adjustment of individual behaviour in response to perceived changes in risk. People tend to behave more cautiously if their perception of risk or danger increases, and less cautiously when they feel 'safer' or more protected
According to the study, people are practising risk compensation, which means that they generally care less when they sense they have protection or are more careful when in deeper risk.When seat belt laws came into effect, some studies suggested drivers became more likely to speed or drive recklessly.
Telling people about the number of men who have to be circumcised to prevent one HIV infection, rather than a percentage reduction, could make them more cautious (reduce risk compensation) about behaviours that could lead to HIV acquisition.
Concerns with self-testing include adverse emotional reactions to positive tests, risk compensation following a negative test, coercion to use tests, and potential partner violence when tests are utilized in relationships.
Another concern is risk compensation related to PrEP use, (20,21) although data obtained in large trials have shown the opposite: the use of a prevention pill was associated with a significant decrease of high risk sexual behavior.
Alongside the successful HIV risk compensation education interventions for men undergoing circumcision, there is an urgent need to educate women about the fact that male circumcision provides men with only partial protection and that they themselves still need protection.