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