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HIV Testing: a Trojan Horse?

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  • Mechoulan Stéphane

    () (University of Toronto)

Abstract

The consequences of HIV testing are unclear. Some infected individuals, assuming they behave selfishly, would tend to increase their number of partners. Meanwhile, non-infected ones or those ignorant of their status would decrease theirs, the result of which, on the equilibrium level of infection, is uncertain. Simulations from a simple dynamic model show how to generate the Philipson-Posner conjecture, i.e., that disclosure of HIV status may result in higher disease prevalence. In this benchmark case, testing would also lower welfare. Those results, however, appear to be fragile. In particular, very little altruism seems needed for testing to become beneficial, and the public health literature tells us that a large proportion of individuals behave altruistically when tested positive and appropriately counseled. Beyond the mere availability of testing, the findings further suggest combining existing prevention measures with universal or mandatory testing to help eradicate the disease.

Suggested Citation

  • Mechoulan Stéphane, 2004. "HIV Testing: a Trojan Horse?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-26, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:topics.4:y:2004:i:1:n:18
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    Cited by:

    1. Áureo De Paula & Gil Shapira & Petra E. Todd, 2014. "How Beliefs About Hiv Status Affect Risky Behaviors: Evidence From Malawi," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(6), pages 944-964, September.
    2. Aureo de Paula & Gil Shapira & Petra E. Todd, 2008. "How Beliefs about HIV Status Affect Risky Behaviors: Evidence from Malawi, Fifth Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 10-023, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 10 Jul 2010.
    3. Adeline Delavande & Dana Goldman & Neeraj Sood, 2010. "Criminal Prosecution and Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Related Risky Behavior," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(4), pages 741-782.
    4. Auld, M. Christopher, 2003. "Choices, beliefs, and infectious disease dynamics," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 361-377, May.

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