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Why only one individual tests for HIV/AIDS among Sub-Saharan African Couples?


  • Olivier STERCK

    () (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES))


Voluntary Testing and Counseling (VTC) is a popular method for fighting the epidemic of HIV/AIDS. The purpose of VTC is to reduce the incidence of the virus in a twofold manner. First, testing provides access to health care and antiretroviral therapies (ARV) that diminish the transmission rate of the virus. Second, counseling would encourage safer behavior for both individuals who test HIV-negative and want to avoid a dangerous disease, and altruistic individuals who test HIV-positive and want to protect the others. Surprisingly, empirical evidence from DHS surveys in Sub-Saharan Africa shows that testing services are underused. Moreover, it is rare that both partners of a couple test for HIV. In this paper, I construct a behavioral model explaining how misperceptions of the riskiness of HIV/AIDS may induce, at most, one individual in the couple to test. I show that the correction of wrong beliefs thanks to specific information campaigns may be sufficient to induce testing of both partners.

Suggested Citation

  • Olivier STERCK, 2011. "Why only one individual tests for HIV/AIDS among Sub-Saharan African Couples?," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2011024, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  • Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvir:2011024

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    1. repec:aph:ajpbhl:10.2105/ajph.2006.096263_7 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Sterck Olivier, 2013. "Why are Testing Rates so Low in Sub-Saharan Africa? Misconceptions and Strategic Behaviors," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 16(1), pages 1-39, September.

    More about this item


    HIV/AIDS; transmission rate; testing; prevention; risk perception; condom; beliefs; observability;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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