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The heterogeneous effects of HIV testing
Author:Baird, Sarah; Gong, Erick; McIntosh, Craig; Ozler, Berk; Collection Title:Impact Evaluation series ; no. 123Policy Research working paper ; no. WPS 6823Paper is funded by the Knowledge for Change Program (KCP)
Country:Malawi; Date Stored:2014/03/31
Document Date:2014/03/01Document Type:Policy Research Working Paper
SubTopics:Gender and Health; HIV AIDS and Business; Disease Control & Prevention; Population Policies; HIV AIDSLanguage:English
Major Sector:Education; Health and other social servicesRel. Proj ID:MW-Ccts, Schooling, And Hiv/Aids Risk -- -- P109215;
Region:AfricaReport Number:WPS6823
Sub Sectors:Health; General education sectorTF No/Name:TF099295-Girl; TF092029-GENDER
Volume No:1 of 1  

Summary: 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. This study investigates 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. The study finds 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, a large increase in the probability of contracting HSV-2 is found, with this effect stronger among those surprised by their test results. Similarly, those surprised by HIV-negative test results see a significant improvement in achievement test scores, consistent with increased returns to investments in human capital. The finding of increased HSV-2 prevalence among HIV-positive individuals suggests that the conventional wisdom that those who learn they are HIV-positive will adopt safer sexual practices should be treated with caution.

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