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HIV-related social intolerance and risky sexual behavior in a high HIV prevalence environment

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  • Delavande, Adeline
  • Sampaio, Mafalda
  • Sood, Neeraj

Abstract

Although most countries state that fighting social intolerance against persons with HIV is part of their national HIV strategy, the impact of reducing intolerance on risky sexual behavior is largely unknown. In this paper, we estimate the effect of social intolerance against HIV+ persons on risky sexual behavior in rural Malawi using data from roughly 2000 respondents from the 2004 and 2006 waves of the Malawi Longitudinal Study of Families and Health (MLSFH). The effect of social intolerance on risky behavior is a priori ambiguous. On the one hand, higher social intolerance or stigma can lead people to disassociate from the stigmatized group and hence promote risky behavior. On the other hand, intolerance can be viewed as a social tax on being HIV+ and thus higher intolerance may reduce risky behavior. We find that a decrease in social intolerance is associated with a decrease in risky behavior, including fewer partners and a lower likelihood of having extra-marital relations. This effect is mainly driven by the impact of social intolerance on men. Overall the results suggests that reducing social intolerance might not only benefit the HIV positive but might also forestall the spread of HIV.

Suggested Citation

  • Delavande, Adeline & Sampaio, Mafalda & Sood, Neeraj, 2014. "HIV-related social intolerance and risky sexual behavior in a high HIV prevalence environment," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 84-93.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:111:y:2014:i:c:p:84-93
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.04.011
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Francis, Andrew M. & Mialon, Hugo M. & Peng, Handie, 2012. "In sickness and in health: Same-sex marriage laws and sexually transmitted infections," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(8), pages 1329-1341.
    2. Oster, Emily, 2012. "HIV and sexual behavior change: Why not Africa?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 35-49.
    3. Francis, Andrew M. & Mialon, Hugo M., 2010. "Tolerance and HIV," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 250-267, March.
    4. Susan Watkins & Hans-Peter Kohler & Jere Behrman & Eliya Msiyaphazi Zulu, 2003. "Introduction to "Research on Demographic Aspects of HIV/AIDS in Rural Africa"," Demographic Research Special Collections, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 1(1), pages 1-30.
    5. Amoakohene, Margaret Ivy, 2004. "Violence against women in Ghana: a look at women's perceptions and review of policy and social responses," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 59(11), pages 2373-2385, December.
    6. Adeline Delavande & Hans-Peter Kohler, 2012. "The Impact of HIV Testing on Subjective Expectations and Risky Behavior in Malawi," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 49(3), pages 1011-1036, August.
    7. Winskell, Kate & Hill, Elizabeth & Obyerodhyambo, Oby, 2011. "Comparing HIV-related symbolic stigma in six African countries: Social representations in young people’s narratives," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(8), pages 1257-1265.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tsai, Alexander C. & Venkataramani, Atheendar S., 2015. "The causal effect of education on HIV stigma in Uganda: Evidence from a natural experiment," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 37-46.

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