From predictive to protective? The changing relationship of HIV and education

Elizabeth A. Gummerson, Princeton University

This study uses longitudinal data from Mali, Tanzania Kenya and Zambia to examine whether the positive relationship between educational attainment and HIV is reversing. My findings support previous scholars’ hypotheses that the relationship between HIV and education has begun to reverse. Although the relationship is positive at the regional level, it is much weaker for the youngest generation. Furthermore, when I examine the relationship using regional fixed effects, I find no positive association for the youngest cohort. Secondarily, I evaluate 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 evidence consistent with the hypothesis that education is becoming protective; regions with higher levels of adult education at baseline experience larger drops in HIV prevalence over the time period. I do not find that educational attainment is eroding over time in higher prevalence areas.

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Presented in Session 23: Epidemiology and demography of HIV/AIDS