Is Education a Social Vaccine against HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa? The Effect of Schooling across Age Cohorts

David Baker, Pennsylvania State University
Juan Leon, Pennsylvania State University
Daniel Salinas, Pennsylvania State University

Early in the HIV/AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa, epidemiological studies atypically identified formal education attainment as a risk factor: educated sub-Saharan Africans had a higher risk of contracting HIV than their less educated peers. Although some demographic research indicates that by the mid-1990s the education effect had reversed, there is still contradictory evidence as a recent major analysis reports that education still acts as a HIV/AIDS risk factor (Fortson 2008). This and related analyses fail to account for possible interaction between education and age cohort reflecting the effect of reaching sexual maturity at different points during the shifting political-informational environment over the course of the pandemic. A replication of Fortson’s analysis with DHS data from five sub-Saharan national samples, but with a model incorporating interaction effects, finds that starting among the cohort who reached sexual maturity in the mid-1990s more schooling is associated with lower likelihood of HIV/AIDS infection.

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Presented in Poster Session 3