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AIDS, beliefs and rational choices.


Int Conf AIDS. 1996 Jul 7-12;11(2):500 (abstract no. Pub.D.1403). Unique

Objective: Construction of a dynamic economic model in which agents determine their level of sexual activity based upon beliefs concerning infection probability given the available protection and prevalence of HIV. Method: Epidemiological models of the HIV epidemic typically over predict new cases, probably due to these models not accounting for changes in behaviour relating to changes in disease prevalence. As there is now a large body of evidence that behavioural modifications have occurred in those populations most at risk, this paper attempts to include these factors into a dynamic utility-maximizing model of risk-taking behaviour. Simulations, using genetic algorithms were then used to mimic the dynamic evolution of HIV incidence and prevalence. Results: Behavioural changes cause the time paths of both prevalence and summary statistics of behaviour to change from the baseline a behavioural scenario. These changes are, in simulations, often large, and imply a nonlinear relationship between risk-taking behaviour and the level of risk. Conclusions: Economic utility-maximising models of risk-taking behaviour can yield useful insights into the dynamics of the AIDS pandemic. These economic models need to be extended to incorporate more sociological factors so as to more closely mimic the evolution and possible future dynamics of HIV infection.

*HIV Infections/ECONOMICS *Models, Economic *Sex Behavior


Information in this article was accurate in January 30, 1997. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.