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Free Access to HAART and Pregnancy Response among HIV Patients: A Case Study from Cameroon

Miron Tequame ()
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Miron Tequame: Center for Research in the Economics of Development, University of Namur

No 1205, Working Papers from University of Namur, Department of Economics

Abstract: The HIV/AIDS epidemic has dramatically altered patterns of morbidity and mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa with potential consequences on fertility and population dynamics. We take advantage of a unique data-set collected in Cameroon among HIV positive patients and estimate the relationship between HAART treatment and (intended) pregnancy. HAART raises life expectancy, improves health outcomes and lowers the risk of transmission. These direct health benefits imply rational and behavioral responses in pregnancy as it allows individuals to accomplish their desired number of children. I con- duct a multivariate regression based on Before-After analysis to evaluate the effect of the 2007 policy of scaling-up HAART treatment in Cameroon on intended pregnancy. With respect to women not yet on treatment, HAART increased the propensity to pregnancy after one year with the coefficient increasing over time after 2007, when treatment was rendered free of charge. The results also show that pregnancy response is highest among people who have lower number of children pre-treatment and with CD4 counts above the average at treatment initiation. This means early treatment initiation, which results in better health outcomes, enhances pregnancy with respect to women who were too sick at treatment initiation. I discuss and test the different mechanisms that driving the behavioral response in YaoundŽ-Cameroon and exclude those that are less evident from the data.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS; fertility; risky behavior (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 30 pages
Date: 2012-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-afr, nep-dem, nep-dev and nep-hea
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