The heterogeneous effects of HIV testing

Type Journal Article - Journal of Health Economics
Title The heterogeneous effects of HIV testing
Volume 37
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2014
Page numbers 98-112
An extensive multi-disciplinary literature examines the effects of learning one's HIV status on subsequent risky sexual behaviors. However, many of these studies rely on non-experimental designs; use self-reported outcome measures; or both. In this study, we investigate the effects of a randomly assigned home based HIV testing and counseling (HTC) intervention on risky sexual behaviors and schooling investments among school-age females in Malawi. We find no overall effects on HIV, Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-2), or achievement test scores at follow-up. However, among the small group of individuals who tested positive for HIV, we find a large increase in the probability of HSV-2 infection, with this effect being stronger among those surprised by their test results. Similarly, those surprised by HIV-negative test results have significantly higher achievement test scores at follow-up, consistent with increased returns to investments in human capital.

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