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Sexual Risk Taking Among Young Adults in Cape Town: Effects of Expected Health and Income

Mintewab Bezabih, Andrea Mannberg and Martine Visser

No 43, SALDRU Working Papers from Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town

Abstract: The wide prevalence of HIV in Africa has long been associated with seemingly irrational levels of sexual risk taking. Hence understanding the rationale behind risky sexual behavior is critical for designing effective prevention policies. This paper empirically assesses links between expectations of future health and income on sexual risk taking. An important contribution of the paper lies in combining a wide range of variables measuring risky sexual behavior such that the maximum information possible is extracted from, and adequate weights are attached to each measure, as opposed to previous studies that are based on individual measures or arbitrary aggregations. The findings indicate that expected income and health and future uncertainty are significant determinants of current patterns of sexual risk taking. From a policy perspective, the results suggest that reducing poverty and improving social insurance as well as reducing the taboo related to talking about HIV, and further investigating the relatively low degree of condom use of women may constitute important issues to be addressed.

Date: 2010-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-afr, nep-hea and nep-neu
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