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HIV/AIDS Research

The research program focuses on treatment, transmission and prevention, and socioeconomic impacts of HIV/AIDS in Africa

HIV/AIDS reaches into every corner of society, affecting parents, children and youth, teachers and health workers, rich and poor. It is  the leading cause of adult death on the African continent. The percentage of adults infected with HIV ranges from 3 or 4 percent in West African countries to as high as 30 percent in regions of southern Africa.

Research Program  Supporting documents 
Bank Researchers  Consultants
 Related Web Sites 
 Articles, Briefs & Books
new template - orange triangular bulletTrends in HIV/AIDS Data–Highlights from World Bank Research
Featured Article 2007 
new template - orange triangular bulletThe Economics of Effective AIDS Treatment. Evaluating Policy Options for Thailand 
Report 2006 
new template - orange triangular bullet Discordant Couples and HIV/AIDS Transmission in Five African Countries 
Research Brief 2006
new template - orange triangular bulletHIV/AIDS Treatment and Prevention in India: Modeling the Cost and Consequences 2004
Download book 
Order book  
new template - orange triangular bulletOrphanhood, Poverty, and School Enrollment 
Research Brief 2006  
new template - orange triangular bulletConfronting AIDS: Public Priorities in a Global Epidemic
Policy Research Report 1999 

Anti-Retroviral Treatment
Contact: Damien de Walque (

The Bank supports several public-private partnerships to accelerate access to antiretroviral treatment (ART) for HIV/AIDS patients in   Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Mozambique. Treatment Acceleration Project (TAP) is working to support the following public-private partnerships:

  • ART delivery through associations of persons living with HIV/AIDS
  • Faith-based organizations
  • Local and international NGOs
  • Partnerships between government hospitals and private health facilities.

The Bank supports antiretroviral treatment delivery in many countries and, in addition to Burkina Faso, Ghana and Mozambique the team is also conducting impact evaluations in India, Kenya, Rwanda and South Africa.[ 1]

Research questions:

  1. What is the impact of treatment on the welfare of patients and family members? This research looks at the impacts on the labor supply of the patient and other family members, the schooling of children, and other welfare indicators.
  2. What are the effects of ART on HIV transmission and prevention? This research looks at the direction (beneficial & adverse) and type (biological & behavior) of effects.
  3. What are the determinants of treatment success?This research looks at how patient care-seeking behavior and treatment adherence, and quantity and quality and of ART services affect treatment success.
  4. What the best ways to encourage cost-effectiveness and capacity building to reinforce the sustainability of ART delivery and adherence? This research uses longitudinal data along with data from biomedical records, household surveys (HIV patients and general population) as well as health facility and surveys to evaluate experiments in Rwanda (performance-based contracting for HIV/AIDS services in health facilities) and South Africa (food supplement and community health workers for supporting adherence to treatment).


Transmission and Prevention
Contact: Damien de Walque (

This research uses household data such as the Demographic Health Surveys (which includes HIV status of sub-samples of respondents) to better understand the patterns of HIV/AIDS transmission, and the impact of programs designed to affect the incidence of HIV.


Socioeconomic Impact
This research investigates the impact of HIV/AIDS on populations, economies and institutions. It also evaluates social protection mechanisms designed to mitigate the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. [ 2]

Marriage Transitions and HIV/AIDS in Malawi
Contact: Kathleen Beegle ( and Berk Ozler (

The goal of this research project is to collect innovative longitudinal data on a sample of young adults in Malawi to understand the links between non-marital relations and sexual experiences, transitions into marriage, socioeconomic status (both prior to and after marriage), and the spread of HIV/AIDS.

By following a cohort of young adults, the project seeks to understand the socioeconomic and other conditions that precipitate marriage, including early marriages. By continuing to study newly married couples, we will then explore the fertility outcomes and socio-economic consequences associated with marriage, including incidence of HIV/AIDS, and the variation in outcome by the characteristics of marriages.

Specifically, the study will interview 1,000 unmarried women and men in the Mchinji district in Malawi. We will follow them over at least 3 years, continuing to collect detailed socio-economic information, sexual partnering information, and HIV status of respondents and their new spouses. The total amount of funds requested from Hewlett is $140,000. Additional funding will be sought from other sources. The project will produce a publicly-available longitudinal data set and policy-research publications.


Schooling, Income, and HIV Risk (Malawi)
Contact: Berk Ozler (

This study investigates the impact of cash transfers, both conditional and unconditional, on schooling, sexual behavior and HIV/STD risk among school-aged women in Malawi (never married women aged 13-22).

The goal is to understand the African context for how CCT programs can best be designed to pull secondary school-age students back into the educational system.  For more on the evaluation design and elaborates on the research questions, estimation strategy, study setting and survey design

Research questions:

What are the health and behavioral benefits from maintaining female enrollment? This question is potentially crucial for African governments that may be considering creating schooling-based conditional cast transfer (CCT) programs.

A multi-arm randomized policy intervention will provide direct experimental evidence on the following questions: 

  • What is the marginal impact of schooling on sexual behavior and HIV/STD risk for young (school-aged) women?
  • What is the income elasticity of (risky) sexual behavior?
  • Are the any negative (or positive) spillover effects of increasing schooling and/or income of some on other young women (young men)?
  • What is the effect of cash transfers on returning to school in Malawi?

Project Resources


Background documents


Beegle, Kathleen, Joachim De Weerdt, and Stefan Dercon. 2008. “Adult Mortality and Economic Growth in the Age of HIV/AIDS.” Economic Development and Cultural Change 56(2): 299-326. 


Beegle, Kathleen, and Sofya Krutikova. 2007. "Adult Mortality and Children’s Transition into Marriage." World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 4139.

de Walque, Damien. 2007. “ How Does the Impact of an HIV/AIDS Information Campaign Vary with Educational Attainment? Evidence from Rural Uganda.” Journal of Development Economics 84: 686-714.

de Walque, Damien. 2007. "Sero-Discordant Couples in Five African Countries: Implications for Prevention Strategies." Population and Development Review 33(3): 501-23.

Gauri, Varun,Beyrer Chris, and Denise Vaillancourt. 2007. “Human Rights and Health Systems.” In Chris Beyrer, ed., Public Health and Human Rights: Evidence-Based Approaches. Johns Hopkins University Press. More info


Beegle, Kathleen, Joachim De Weerdt, and Stefan Dercon. 2006. “Orphanhood and the Long-Run Impact on Children.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics 88 (5): 1266-1272.

de Walque, Damien. 2006. “Discordant Couples. HIV Infection among Couples in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania”. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 3956.

de Walque, Damien. 2006. “Who Gets AIDS and How? The determinants of HIV infection and sexual behaviors in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania.” World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 3844.

Gauri, Varun, and Evan S. Lieberman. 2006. “Boundary Institutions and HIV/AIDS Policy in Brazil and South Africa.” Studies in Comparative International Development, 41(3): 47-73.

Over, Mead and Sevgi Aral. 2006. “The Economics of Sexually Transmitted Diseases.” Sexually Transmitted Diseases  33 (10 Suppl): S79–S83.


Dandona, Lalit, Pratap Sisodia, T.L.N. Prasad, Elliot Marseille, M. Chalapathi Rao, A. Anod Kumar, S.G. Prem Kumar, Y.K. Ramesh, M. Over, M. Someshwar and James G. Kahn. 2005. " Cost and efficiency of public sector sexually transmitted infection clinics in Andhra Pradesh, India." BMC Health Services Research 5:69.

Over, Mead, Marseille Elliot, Sudhakar Kurapati and others. 2006. “ Antiretroviral Therapy and HIV Prevention in India: Modeling Costs and Consequences of Policy Options.” Sexually Transmitted Diseases 33 (10 Suppl): S145-S152.


Over, Mead, P. Heywood, J. Gold, I.Gupta, Hira Subhash, and E. Marseille. 2004. HIV/AIDS Treatment and Prevention in India. Modeling the Cost and Consequences. Washington, DC: World Bank.  Download book |  Order book


Ainsworth, Martha, and Deon P. Filmer. 2002. "Poverty, AIDS, and Children’s Schooling: A Targeting Dilemma." World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 2885.


Ainsworth, Martha, and Julia Dayton. 2000. "The Impact of the AIDS epidemic on the health of the elderly in Tanzania." World Bank Policy Research Working Paper  2649.

Ainsworth, Martha, and Innocent Semali. 2000. "The Impact of Adult Deaths on Children's Health in Northwestern Tanzania. " World Bank Policy Research Working Paper  2266.

Lundberg, Mattias, Mead Over, Phare Mujinja. 2000. "Sources of Financial Assistance for Households Suffering an Adult Death in Kagera, Tanzania." The South African Journal of Economics  68 (5): 420-443, December.


Kambou G., S. Devarajan, and M. Over. 1993. "The economic effects of the AIDS epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa: a general equilibrium analysis." Rev. Econ. Dev. 1 (1): 37-62.



[ 1] The treatment work is funded and supported by a Bank Netherlands Partnership Program trust fund, the DEC Research Support Budget, the Hewlett Foundation, the TAP project, the Global HIV/AIDS Program, the HD Vice Presidency, and the Alliance for Community Transformation (ACT) Africa.

[ 2] The work in Malawi on marriage and Schooling, Income and HIV Risk is funded by the DED Research Support Budget, the Hewlett Foundation, the Global Development Network, and the Knowledge for Change Trust Fund.


 Policy Research Working Papers on HIV/AIDS
(Please use the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view PDF PDF files)
The following policy research working papers are drawn from the World Bank's institutional archives. Each link opens a page with an abstract of the document and several download options.

Last updated: 2012-03-06


WPS6364Using provider performance incentives to increase HIV testing and counseling services in Rwandade Walque, Damien; Gertler, Paul J; Bautista-Arredondo, Sergio; Kwan, Ada; Vermeersch, Christel; de Dieu Bizimana, Jean; Binagwaho, Agnes; Condo, Jeanine2013/02
WPS6343How subjective beliefs about HIV infection affect life-cycle fertility : evidence from rural MalawiShapira, Gil2013/01
WPS5997Sexual behavior change intentions and actions in the context of a randomized trial of a conditional cash transfer for HIV prevention in TanzaniaPackel, Laura; Dow, William H.; de Walque, Damien; Isdahl, Zachary; Majura, Albert2012/03
WPS5966Mines, migration and HIV/AIDS in southern AfricaCorno, Lucia; de Walque, Damien2012/02
WPS5973Stimulating demand for AIDS prevention : lessons from the RESPECT trialde Walque, Damien; Dow, William H.; Medlin, Carol; Nathan, Rose2012/02

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