The spread of HIV and AIDS and risky sexual behavior continues to be a problem in Sub-Saharan African countries despite government measures to educate people on the risk and severity of the disease and measures to promote safe sex practices such as making condoms readily available at reduced or no cost. We examine whether people decide to engage in risky sexual behavior due to low income and low life expectancy. Sub-Saharan Africa is characterized by conditions that signicantly reduce life expectancy such as unsanitary conditions prevalent in poverty stricken areas, inaccessibility to health care, and dangerous working conditions such as those in very poor mining regions. Moreover, since income per capita in these countries is very low, the opportunity cost associated with dying from AIDS and foregoing future consumption is very low. We examine how a government provided life insurance benet may be an effective means of deterring risky sexual behavior. To evaluate this policy prescription we develop a life-cycle model with personal and family consumption and endogenous probability of survival. In the model, agents can receive life insurance benets if their death is not the result of AIDS. We demonstrate that excessive risky behavior does result from low life expectancy and low levels of income and illustrate the conditions for which the life insurance benet can replicate the effects of higher income and life expectancy, deterring risky sexual behavior and reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS.
This paper estimates the association between HIV knowledge and risky sexual behavior in India. Using data from the third wave of the national demographic survey, we find that better HIV related knowledge does not always promote safer sexual practices. While, better HIV knowledge increases the likelihood of condom use, it also increases the likelihood of premarital sex, and reduces the likelihood of abstinence. These effects are much stronger for males when compared to females. These results also suggest, albeit indirectly, that informational and condom distribution campaigns are not necessarily promoting safer sexual practices in India.
Using representative samples from populations of 19 sub-Sahara African countries, this paper investigates the effects of different levels of HIV/AIDS knowledge on sexual behavior of males with country specific effects and controls for socioeconomic characteristics and location of residence. The main findings are that HIV/AIDS knowledge increases the likelihood of using condoms with and without commercial sex workers, has no significant effect on the likelihood of paying for sex, and increases both the likelihood of having pre and extra marital sex. These results indicate that increased HIV knowledge on average does not lead to safer sexual behavior of males in sub-Saharan Africa at the macro level.