Should Prevention Campaigns Disclose the Transmission Rate of HIV/AIDS? Theory and Application to Burundi
Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - School of Economic and Social Research (IRES)
April 10, 2012
Among non-specialists, the estimates of the HIV/AIDS transmission rate are generally upwardly biased. This overestimation may be perceived as a godsend, as it increases the incentives to have protected sexual relationships. However, a pernicious effect may counterbalance this positive effect. Combined with the overestimation of the transmission rate, an occasional unprotected sexual encounter may induce the feeling that "the die is cast", and hence lead to a permanent neglect of condom use. In this paper, I construct a model that reflects such insidious and unexpected behavior. I calculate that the optimal transmission rate to be disclosed for safer sexual practices ranges between 4.7% and 37.4%. Disclosing a transmission rate below 4.7% may be riskier than the actual overestimation of the transmission rate, especially in subpopulation where casual sex is common.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 19
Keywords: HIV/AIDS, transmission rate, prevention, risk perception, condom, Burundi
JEL Classification: I15, I18, D81, D83, D84working papers series
Date posted: July 2, 2012
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