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When Knowledge is not Enough: HIV/AIDS Information and Risky Behavior in Botswana

Author

Listed:
  • James A. Levinsohn
  • Taryn Dinkelman
  • Rolang Majelantle

Abstract

The spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic is still fueled by ignorance in many parts of the world. Filling in knowledge gaps, particularly between men and women, is considered key to preventing future infections and to reducing female vulnerabilities to the disease. However, such knowledge is arguably only a necessary condition for targeting these objectives. In this paper, we describe the extent to which HIV/AIDS knowledge is correlated with less risky sexual behavior. We ask: even when there are no substantial knowledge gaps between men and women, do we still observe sex-specific differentials in sexual behavior that would increase vulnerability to infection? We use data from two recent household surveys in Botswana to address this question. We show that even when men and women have very similar types of knowledge, they have different probabilities of reporting safe sex. Our findings are consistent with the existence of non-informational barriers to behavioral change, some of which appear to be sex-specific. The descriptive exercise in this paper suggests that it may be overly optimistic to hope for reductions in risky behavior through the channel of HIV-information provision alone.

Suggested Citation

  • James A. Levinsohn & Taryn Dinkelman & Rolang Majelantle, 2006. "When Knowledge is not Enough: HIV/AIDS Information and Risky Behavior in Botswana," NBER Working Papers 12418, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12418 Note: HE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Peter Glick & David Sahn, 2007. "Changes in HIV/AIDS knowledge and testing behavior in Africa: how much and for whom?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 20(2), pages 383-422, April.
    2. Cohen, Barney, 1998. "The emerging fertility transition in sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(8), pages 1431-1461, August.
    3. Mark Gersovitz, 2005. "The HIV Epidemic in Four African Countries Seen through the Demographic and Health Surveys," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 14(2), pages 191-246, June.
    4. Nnko, Soori & Boerma, J.T.J Ties & Urassa, Mark & Mwaluko, Gabriel & Zaba, Basia, 2004. "Secretive females or swaggering males?: An assessment of the quality of sexual partnership reporting in rural Tanzania," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 299-310, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:dau:papers:123456789/7310 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Daniela Iorio & Raül Santaeulàlia-Llopis, 2011. "Education, HIV Status, and Risky Sexual Behavior: How Much Does the Stage of the HIV Epidemic Matter?," Working Papers 624, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    3. Gani Aldashev & Jean-Marie Baland, 2012. "Awareness and AIDS: A Political Economy Perspective," Working Papers 1204, University of Namur, Department of Economics.
    4. Ranjan Ray & Kompal Sinha, 2011. "Interaction between HIV Awareness, Knowledge, Safe Sex Practice and HIV Incidence: Evidence from Botswana," Monash Economics Working Papers 12-11, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    5. Pedro de Araujo, 2008. "Socio-Economic Status, HIV/AIDS Knowledge and Stigma, and Sexual Behavior in India," Caepr Working Papers 2008-019_updated, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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