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Unsafe Sex, AIDS, and Development

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  • Bhattacharya, Joydeep
  • Bunzel, Helle
  • Qiao, Xue

Abstract

Much of Africa has been ravaged by the AIDS epidemic. There, heterosexual contact is the primary mode of transmission for the HIV virus. Even when access to condoms is good and their price low, a large fraction of young Africans continue to engage in unprotected sex. In this paper, we propose a simple two period rational model of sexual behavior that has the potential to explain why a large proportion of sexual activity in poor countries maybe unprotected. In the model economy, even when agents are perfectly cognizant of the risk involved in unsafe sexual activity, and fully internalize the effects of their own sexual behavior on their chance of catching the virus, they may rationally choose to engage in such risky behavior. Our results indicate that safe sexual practice is essentially a "normal good" and that development may be key to reducing HIV infectivity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers with number 12832.

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Date of creation: 09 Jul 2007
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Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:12832

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Postal: Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070
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Fax: +1 515.294.0221
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Web page: http://www.econ.iastate.edu
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Keywords: AIDS; rational choice; sexual behavior; safe sex;

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  1. Bhattacharya, Joydeep & Qiao, Xue, 2005. "Public and Private Expenditures on Health in a Growth Model," Staff General Research Papers, Iowa State University, Department of Economics 12378, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  2. Philipson, Tomas J & Posner, Richard A, 1995. "A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation of the Effects of Public Health Subsidies for STD Testing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 110(2), pages 445-74, May.
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  12. repec:rus:hseeco:71105 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Dana Goldman & Darius Lakdawalla & Neeraj Sood, 2004. "HIV Breakthroughs and Risk Sexual Behavior," NBER Working Papers 10516, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  16. Blackburn, Keith & Cipriani, Giam Pietro, 2002. "A model of longevity, fertility and growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 187-204, February.
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  20. Emily Oster, 2007. "HIV and Sexual Behavior Change: Why Not Africa?," NBER Working Papers 13049, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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