Traditional HIV/AIDS education campaigns have not been completely effective in curtailing new infections. One potential reason behind this is that most of the infections occur among individuals who are willing to take risks when it comes to sexual behaviour, and campaigns have failed to specifically target these people. This column describes a new HIV intervention trialled in Lesotho that used a lottery to target such individuals and incentivise safer practices. HIV incidence was reduced by more than a fifth in treatment groups over the trial period. These results, combined with practical and cost advantages, suggest that such interventions could prove invaluable in the fight against HIV.
Martina Björkman Nyqvist, Lucia Corno, Damien de Walque, Jakob Svensson, 07 January 2017
Erick Gong, 25 May 2016
Individuals getting tested for HIV are expected to reduce their risky sexual behaviour. In this video, Erick Gong discusses the impact of HIV testing and expectations about the test results on risky sexual behaviour. The number of people being HIV tested is increasing, and understanding how individuals react to is important to adapt policies to treat the virus. This video was recorded in March 2016 during the Royal Economic Society’s Annual Conference held at the University of Sussex.
Michael Kremer, Christopher Snyder, Natalia Drozdoff, 29 January 2016
Many observers believe that pharmaceutical firms prefer to invest in drugs to treat diseases rather than vaccines. This column presents an economic rationale for why such a pattern may emerge for diseases like HIV/AIDS. The population risk of such diseases resembles a Zipf distribution, which makes the shape of the demand curve for a drug more conducive to revenue extraction than for a vaccine. Based on revenue calibrations using US data on HIV risk, the revenue from a drug is about four times greater.
Lucia Corno, Áureo De Paula, 13 January 2015
Addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic requires an understanding of how risky sexual behaviours change over time. This column observes that, whereas the accuracy of self-reported data depends on the likelihood of people telling the truth, the likelihood of risky behaviours being detected in tests for sexually transmitted infections is equal to the disease transmission rate. Self-reported data may therefore be a more reliable measure of risky behaviours than the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections when the probability of transmission is low.
Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, Belgi Turan, Chinhui Juhn, 04 October 2008
Some have argued that HIV/AIDS might increase future per capita incomes in Africa by inducing population declines. This column presents new data showing that HIV/AIDS does little to reduce fertility rates amongst non-infected women. The disease, which devastates human capital accumulation, is very likely to lower future per capita incomes in Africa.
Pedro de Araujo, 13 September 2008
India has the most HIV infections in the world, with prevalence as high as 1.13% in some states. This column explains why preventive policies should focus on increasing condom distribution and awareness among the poor and uneducated.