Sunday, July 25, 2021

Botswana education reform reduces HIV infections

Education reform in Botswana reduces human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections. 

In a research article entitled: “To educate a woman and to educate a man: Gender specific sexual behaviour and human immunodeficiency virus responses to an education reform in Botswana” penned by Annika Lindskog and Dick Durevall, they found out that the education reform appears to be protective against HIV infection among women and delayed the sexual debut by about 7 months among women.

“As for the overall impact of education on HIV incidence, the reform reduced HIV infection among women by 6.5 percentage points, while the estimated coefficient for men is small and insignificant,” states the report. 

The report also highlights that education reform in Botswana “led to better jobs for men, who were 8.9 percentage points more likely to have a skilled occupation, while the effect on women was positive but insignificant. Among men, there was an increase in concurrency by 7.4 percentage points and transactional sex by 2.7 percentage points, but no such changes were found among women”.

The research also shows that the effects of Botswana’s education reform appear to differ between women and men. “Women seem to delay first sex more than men because of the reform,” says the report adding that “the desire to avoid pregnancies is a central motive behind adolescent women’s sexual behaviour”.

Among other things, education reforms also had a great impact on the total number of births to women. “The reform reduced the number of births by 0.129 children…While women delay their sexual debut and give fewer births at young ages due to the reform, they do not change their adult risky sexual behaviour as measured by transactional sex and concurrency”.

The research also shows that the increase in schooling appears to be protective against HIV infection among women, particularly those below 25 years of age, while we do not find a protective effect among men. “Based on the point estimates, the education reform reduced HIV infection on average by 6.4 percentage points among women, which can compared to a mean prevalence of about 32%,” states the research.

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