Education, HIV Status, and Risky Sexual Behavior: How Much Does the Stage of the HIV Epidemic Matter?


We study the relationship between education and HIV status using nationally representative data from 39 Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) in Sub-Saharan Africa. First, we construct an innovative algorithm that systematically defines aggregate stages of the HIV epidemic in a comparable manner across time and across space. Second, we exploit the variation in the aggregate HIV stages in the DHS data, and find that the education gradient in HIV shows a U-shaped (positive-zero-positive) pattern over the course of the epidemic. Further, educational disparities in the number of extramarital partners are largely consistent with the evolution of the education gradient in HIV.