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Syphilis Cycles

  • David Aadland

    ()

    (Department of Economics and Finance, University of Wyoming)

  • David Finnoff

    ()

    (Department of Economics and Finance, University of Wyoming)

  • Kevin X.D. Huang

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University)

Syphilis has re-emerged as a global public health issue. In lesser developed countries, millions of people are contracting the disease, which can be fatal without access to proper treatment. In developed countries, prevalence is on the rise and has cycled around endemic levels for decades. We investigate syphilis dynamics by extending the classic SIRS epidemiological model to incorporate forward-looking, rational individuals and the AIDS epidemic. The integrated economic-epidemiological model shows that human preferences over health and sexual activity are central to the nature of syphilis cycles. We find that low-activity individuals will behave in a manner that significantly dampen the cycles, while high-activity individuals will tend to exacerbate the cycles, a phenomenon we refer to as rational dynamic resonance. The model also provides insights into two failed attempts by the U.S. government to eradicate syphilis from the U.S. population.

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File URL: http://www.accessecon.com/pubs/VUECON/vu10-w06.pdf
File Function: First version, May 2010
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Paper provided by Vanderbilt University Department of Economics in its series Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers with number 1006.

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Date of creation: May 2010
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Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:1006
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/econ/wparchive/index.html

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  9. Kremer, Michael, 1996. "Integrating Behavioral Choice into Epidemiological Models of AIDS," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 549-73, May.
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