Does HIV/AIDS Disproportionately Affect the Poor? Cross-Country Evidence

Simona Bignami, Université de Montréal
Emmanuela E. Gakidou, Harvard University
Ari Van Assche, HEC Montréal
Cecilia Vidal, Harvard University

This paper analyzes patterns in average levels and inequalities in HIV/AIDS prevalence using household survey data from six countries in sub-Saharan Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Malawi. These surveys have been chosen because they collected biomarkers for HIV that can be linked to information on a series of household assets, which allows us to construct an index of economic status and thus to examine HIV/AIDS prevalence across income quintiles. The estimation of economic status is done concurrently for all countries in the analysis, leading to an index that is on the same scale for all countries. This enables us to provide a detailed analysis of similarities and differences in socioeconomic gradients of HIV/AIDS prevalence both within and between countries and regions. This is an important step in considering how wealth or income may interact with other factors, from geography to policy, to affect HIV/AIDS outcomes.

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Presented in Session 118: International Perspectives on Inequality