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Demographic and socioeconomic patterns of HIV/AIDS prevalence in Africa

  • Beegle, Kathleen
  • de Walque, Damien

Understanding the demographic and socioeconomic patterns of the prevalence and incidence of HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa is crucial for developing programs and policies to combat HIV/AIDS. This paper looks critically at the methods and analytical challenges to study the links between socioeconomic and demographic status and HIV/AIDS. Some of the misconceptions about the HIV/AIDS epidemic are discussed and unusual empirical evidence from the existing body of work is presented. Several important messages emerge from the results. First, the study of the link between socioeconomic status and HIV faces a range of challenges related to definitions, samples, and empirical methods. Second, given the large gaps in evidence and the changing nature of the epidemic, there is a need to continue to improve the evidence base on the link between demographic and socioeconomic status and the prevalence and incidence of HIV/AIDS. Finally, it is difficult to generalize results across countries. As the results presented here and in other studies based on Demographic and Health Survey datasets show, few consistent and significant patterns of prevalence by socioeconomic and demographic status are evident.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5076.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2009
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5076
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  1. Deon Filmer & Lant Pritchett, 1999. "The Effect of Household Wealth on Educational Attainment: Evidence from 35 Countries," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 25(1), pages 85-120.
  2. Damien de Walque, 2007. "Sero-Discordant Couples in Five African Countries: Implications for Prevention Strategies," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 33(3), pages 501-523.
  3. Rebecca L. Thornton, 2008. "The Demand for, and Impact of, Learning HIV Status," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1829-63, December.
  4. 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.
  5. Damien de Walque, 2009. "Does Education Affect HIV Status? Evidence from five African Countries," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 23(2), pages 209-233, June.
  6. Wagstaff, Adam & van Doorslaer, Eddy & Watanabe, Naoko, 2003. "On decomposing the causes of health sector inequalities with an application to malnutrition inequalities in Vietnam," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 207-223, January.
  7. Filmer, Deon & Scott, Kinnon, 2008. "Assessing asset indices," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4605, The World Bank.
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