For better or worse, till death do us part: estimating the marriage contribution to the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa
jimi adams, Columbia University
In this paper we estimate the maximal effect that changes in individual-level sexual behavior alone can have on the present HIV pandemic. We simulate a series of estimates of HIV prevalence resulting from the drastic hypothetical scenario of all individuals alive today and in the future suddenly absolutely adhering to the stated goals of abstinence before marriage, and faithfulness within marriage. We start with initial populations that reflect ranges of HIV prevalence and differing marriage market patterns. We then move those populations forward in time assuming that no individuals falter in following prescribed sexual expectations (the A&B of the ABCs of AIDS prevention). The aim of this exercise is to determine whether, and estimate how substantially, individual sexual behavior change alone can alter the trajectory of the HIV pandemic.