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Does religion constrain the risky sex behaviour associated with HIV/AIDS?

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This article examines the likely effectiveness of public health interventions designed to change the risky sexual behaviour associated with Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) by Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs). We utilize data from the General Social Survey (GSS) to estimate an economic model of sexual behaviour. Our theoretical approach proceeds by rationalizing, on evolutionary grounds, the existence of sexual activity in individual preference functions, with unobservable costs imposed by religious beliefs and participation. Given the objective of utility maximization, we justify the existence of demand functions for sexual activity that generate empirically testable hypotheses about the effects of religion and religious participation on risky sexual activity. Our results suggest that, at least in the case of heterosexuals, FBOs can indeed influence the risky sexual behaviour that is associated with the transmission of HIV/AIDS.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Economics, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS 39217 2: Department of Economics, Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA, 30314

Publication date: 2009-03-01

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