Explaining external economic support inequality among households affected by HIV/AIDS in Tanzania: an Oaxaca Blinder decomposition analysis

Wilfried GUETS, Edward Kwabena AMEYAW, Sanni YAYA*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)



HIV/AIDS remains the leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa. Due to multiple constraints experienced by households that seem to be disproportionally affected, families generally seek assistance from the community and external economic support. Previous researchers studied socioeconomic and gender inequality in HIV/AIDS prevalence in sub-Saharan African countries. However, very few researchers have paid attention to the external economic support for HIV/AIDS affected households in Tanzania. This study investigates the difference in economic support among households affected or not affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Tanzania.


Data used stemmed from the Tanzania HIV Impact Survey 2016–2017 (THIS) of the Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (PHIA) project, collected between 2016 and 2017 in Tanzania. The study population were the heads of households (adults) with age greater than 15. The dependent variable for the study was economic support. This consisted of both material and non-material assistance obtained from outside the household. Socio-demographic (economics) characteristics constituted the predictors of the study. Descriptive statistics and econometric modelling were used to analyse determinants associated with external economic support. Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition method was also performed to investigate the difference in economic support depending on households’ serological status in Tanzania.


A total of 12,008 households were included. Almost 11% of the household heads indicated that their households received economic support. HIV/AIDS affected 7% of households. The mean age of the household heads was 45 years (SD ± 15) with a range of 16–80. The majority of household heads were men (72%). Being a household head affected by HIV/AIDS increases the probability to receive external economic support (p < 0.05). The difference in external economic support between the two groups (HIV/AIDS and no- HIV/AIDS households) was - 0.032 (p < 0.01). This gap was observed to favour households affected by HIV/AIDS. Almost 72% (− 0.023/− 0.032) of this difference was explained by characteristics such as the wealth index (p < 0.01), residence area (urban) (p < 0.01), marital status (widowed (p < 0.05) and divorced or separated) (p < 0.1) and age (p < 0.01).


The difference in economic support across households affected or not affected by HIV/AIDS was explained by wealth index, residence area, marital status and age. These findings represent important implications for health policy regarding future economic support strategies for HIV/AIDS-affected households.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Economics Review
Early online date4 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

The authors thank the Population-Based HIV Impact Assessment (PHIA) project for the support and the free access to the data. https://phia-data.icap.columbia.edu/visualization.

© 2022. The Author(s).


  • Economic support
  • Households
  • Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition
  • Tanzania


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