Recipients of PSC Small Grant Awards
Response of Malawians’ Sexual Behavior to Information about HIV Transmission Risks
Despite substantial investments in the promotion of safer sex, Southern Africa has continued to experience a severe HIV epidemic, and condom use remains rare in the region. This project will explore a new potential HIV prevention strategy: providing information about the true risk of HIV transmission from an infected sex partner, which is lower than most people believe. Some believe that decreasing perceived per-act risks should increase how much risky sex people have. A number of people in Malawi, however, appear to exhibit “fatalistic” behavior – their high beliefs about the transmission rate of HIV have led them to decide they must already have the virus. Telling these people the true per-act risk would lead them to realize they probably do not, and therefore to decrease their risk-taking. My project will directly examine the extent of each pattern of behavior, using an experiment that provides information about HIV transmission risks to randomly-selected people from Malawi’s Zomba District.
Funding Sources: The PSC Initiatives Fund and the Marshall Weinberg International Travel Fund
Funding Period: 3/1/2012 to 6/30/2013