Condom Use in the Presence of HIV Risk: The Role of Economic and Epidemiological Variables
Objectives- Public health officials have recommended universal condom use to prevent HIV infection, yet condom use varies widely across different demographic groups. We compute the benefits of condom use for individuals with different characteristics and investigate whether condom use rates are positively associated with benefits. Methods. The primary benefit from using a condom is the expected value of life saved from avoiding HIV infection. This depends on the probability that the sex partner is HIV seropositive, the probability that unprotected sex results in HIV transmission, condom failure rates, and the expected value of life foregone due to HIV infection. Results. We find that condom use rates are positively related to expected benefits from condom use. Individuals use condoms more often when the HIV-seroprevalence rate is higher, when the HIV-transmission rate is higher, and when an individual places a higher value on life. Conclusion. Condom use rates depend on the sex partners' economic and epidemiological characteristics as well as their attitudes toward condom use.
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