After two years of planning, and four months in the field collecting data, I finally wrapped up data collection for my dissertation this past Friday. Also, thanks to outsourcing my data entry to the awesome people at IKI, I’ve already started looking through the baseline data from the project. The followup data – which will reveal our actual results – is being entered right now, and I should have my hands on it sometime after Christmas. At that point, I’ll be able to look into my main research question, which is how people change their risky sexual behavior in response to the perceived risk of HIV infection. It is typical to assume that the relationship is negative – that the riskier an act is, the less people will do of it. However, there is little empirical support for this in the case of HIV in Southern Africa. In previous work I’ve argued that the relationship may be heterogeneous, with certain people responding positively instead. But whether this happens, and what the impact is likely to be, remains an open question. I will get to answer it in just a handful of days.
Until then, I’m enjoying a much-needed vacation in South Africa with my parents. See you on the other side.