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Learning from Others' HIV Testing: Updating Beliefs and Responding to Risk

Susan Godlonton and Rebecca Thornton

American Economic Review, 2013, vol. 103, issue 3, 439-44

Abstract: An individual who takes an HIV test can be informed about their own status and risk. Similarly, when friends, family or neighbors learn of a person's HIV status, they may update their beliefs about HIV infection among people they know. Using an experiment conducted in rural Malawi which randomly assigned incentives to learn HIV results, we find that as people in the community learn their HIV results, individuals revise their beliefs downward about deaths attributable to HIV/AIDS. We find corresponding behavioral responses with a significant decrease in condom use and no significant increase in multiple partnerships among those who are HIV-negative.

JEL-codes: D81 D83 I12 O15 O18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.3.439
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