Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

The Virgin HIV Puzzle: Can misreporting account for the high proportion of HIV cases in self-reported virgins?

By Eva Deuchert


The Demographic and Health Surveys from Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and Malawi reveal that a significant proportion of HIV infections in adolescent women occurred in women who claim to be virgin. Two possible conclusions arise from this observation: adolescent women misreport sexual status or non-sexual risk is more relevant than previously asserted. This paper uses a nonparametric model to estimate the proportion of HIV infections associated with sexual activity under different assumptions on data accuracy. It shows that there is an inverse relation between data accuracy and importance of sexual HIV transmission. If all adolescent women in the considered sub-sample correctly report sexual activity, 70% of HIV infections cannot be attributed to sexual HIV transmission. The model predicts that more than 95% of HIV infections are due to sexual HIV infections, if a substantial proportion of self-reported virgins (between 40 and 90%) misreport sexual status. --adolescent,HIV,misreporting,nonparametric modelling,sexual transmission

OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (2007b), Sero-discordant Couples in Five African Countries: Implications for Prevention Strategies de Walque, Damien, Population and Development Review,
  2. (2004). [Ministry of Health Rwanda], National Population Office, and ORC Macro (2003): Rwanda Service Assessment Survey
  3. (2004). Age at first sex: understanding recent trends in African demographic surveys,
  4. (1997). Change in sexual behaviour and decline in HIV infection among young pregnant women in urban Uganda,
  5. (2007). Converging evidence suggests nonsexual HIV transmission among adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa,
  6. (2007). Converging evidence suggests nonsexual HIV transmission among adolescents in subSaharan Africa: author reply,
  7. (2006). Dude A
  8. (2005). Estimating the net effect of HIV on child mortality in African populations affected by generalized HIV epidemics,
  9. (2006). Exchange and Condom Use
  10. (2006). Factors associated with HIV infection in adolescent females in Zimbabwe,
  11. factors determining the differential spread of HIV in four African cities: summary and conclusions,
  12. (2000). General and specific childhood risk factors for depression and drug disorders by early adulthood,
  13. (2007). Harm reduction in Tanzania: an urgent need for multisectoral intervention,
  14. Health Organization] (2002a), Quality of care: patient safety, World Health Assembly Resolution WHA55.18,
  15. Health Organization] (2002b), Blood Safety - Strategy for the African Region, Brazzaville: Regional Office for Africa
  16. (2007). HIV and Sexual Behavior Change: Why Not Africa?
  17. (2006). HIV decline associated with behavior change in eastern
  18. (2007). HIV infection does not disproportionately affect the poorer in sub-Saharan Africa,
  19. (2007). HIV Prevalence and Poverty in Africa: Micro- and Macroeconometric Evidences Applied to Burkina Faso,
  20. (2006). HIV testing in national population-based surveys: experience from the Demographic and Health Surveys,
  21. How Does the Impact of an HIV/AIDS Information Campaign Vary with Educational Attainment? Evidence from Rural Uganda,
  22. (1995). Inhalants to heroin: A prospective analysis from adolescence to adulthood, Drug and Alcohol Dependence,
  23. (1993). New concepts in the immunopathogenesis of human immunodeficiency virus infection,
  24. (2007). Plausible and implausible parameters for mathematical modeling of nominal heterosexual HIV transmission,
  25. (2000). Protective correlates of stages in adolescent substance use: A Swiss national study,
  26. (2005). Sexually Transmitted Infections,
  27. (2007). Some neglected and emerging factors in HIV transmission in Ethiopia,
  28. Study Group on Heterogeneity of HIV Epidemics in African Cities (2001b), Interpreting sexual behaviour data: validity issues in the multicentre study on factors determining the differential spread of HIV in four African cities,
  29. (2003). The Demand for Health Care Services in Rural Tanzania,
  30. (1995). The Microeconomics of the AIDS Epidemic in Africa, Population and Development Review,
  31. (2001). The natural history of HIV-1 infection in
  32. (2005). The rise of injecting drug use in East Africa: a case study from Kenya,
  33. (2004). Transmission of HIV-1 infection in sub-Saharan Africa and effect of elimination of unsafe injections,
  34. (2003). Use of injections in healthcare settings worldwide, 2000: literature review and regional estimates,
  35. (2003). Why Do the Sick Not Utilise Health Care? The Case of Zambia,

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.