From Predictive to Protective? The Changing Relationship of HIV and Education in Sub-Saharan Africa

Elizabeth A. Gummerson, Princeton University

This analysis uses longitudinal HIV prevalence data from Mali, Tanzania, Kenya and Zambia to examine whether the positive relationship between educational attainment and HIV prevalence is changing. My findings support the hypothesis that the relationship between HIV and education has begun to reverse in Africa. I find that, at the regional level, the relationship is significantly weaker for the youngest generation. Furthermore, using region and country fixed effects, I find no association between education and HIV risk for the youngest cohort. Secondarily, I test two commonly hypothesized explanations for such a change- the erosion of educational infrastructure in high prevalence areas and the adoption of protective knowledge among the educated. I find that regions with higher levels of adult education at baseline experience larger drops in HIV prevalence over the time period. I do not find evidence that educational attainment is eroding over time in higher prevalence areas.

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Presented in Session 10: HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases