Commentary & Opinion
Increased Cost of Sex Due to HIV/AIDS Influences "Sexual Preference," Opinion Piece Says
December 13, 2005
The "exorbitant new price" of sex because of HIV/AIDS means that "sexual preference" could be influenced by factors typically associated with economics rather than biology, Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt, the authors of "Freakonomics," write in a New York Times opinion piece. They explain that economists define price differently from the lay person, incorporating many factors into the equation, including supply, demand, and possible risks and rewards that are connected to any behavior. "Because AIDS is potentially deadly and because it can be spread relatively easily by sex between two men, the onset of AIDS in the early 1980s caused a significant increase in the price of gay sex," the authors write. They describe the research of Andrew Francis, a graduate student in economics at the University of Chicago, who attempted in a draft paper to explain the factors influencing the price of sex. Francis set $2 million as the value of a U.S. citizen's life and figured that it cost $1,923.75 for a man to have one act of unprotected sex with a "random" man in 1992 -- based in part on the prevalence of AIDS-related mortality -- compared with less than $1 for a man to have one act of unprotected sex with a random woman, according to Dubner and Levitt.
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2005 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.
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