Using data from the San Francisco Home Health Study (SFHHS), this study in economic epidemiology analyzes the degree to which the incentives to avoid HIV infection result in infection-dependent (assortative) matching patterns based on HIV status. The incidence implications induced by such matching are compared to infection-independent matching, an implicit assumption in some models within epidemiology. The authors estimate that an HIV-positive individual is more than twice as likely as an HIV-negative individual to have an HIV-positive partner, and that this results in a decrease in HIV incidence of about one-third over the predictions implied by standard epidemiological models. In these data, the agreement can be shown to be due to initial matching, not to subsequent infection.
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