HIV and Fertility in Africa: First-Evidence from Population Based Surveys
The historical pattern of the demographic transition suggests that fertility declines follow mortality declines, followed by a rise in human capital accumulation and economic growth. The HIV/AIDS epidemic threatens to reverse this path. We utilize recent rounds of the Demographic and Health Surveys that link an individual woman’s fertility outcomes to her HIV status based on testing. The data allows us to distinguish the effect of own positive HIV status on fertility (which may be due to lower fecundity and other physiological reasons) from the behavioral response to higher mortality risk, as measured by the local community HIV prevalence. We show that although HIVinfected women have significantly lower fertility, local community HIV prevalence has no significant effect on non-infected women’s fertility.