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Unformatted text preview: Despite the interaction between distance and
incentives, evidence suggests an upper bound to the distance that individuals are willing to travel
to learn their results, regardless of the incentives offered. Several VCT centers that were initially placed more than nine kilometers from sample households had no attendance for several
days. These centers were re-sited at new random locations and respondents were informed of the
new locations. These distant locations are excluded from the analysis. This suggests that in the
absence of monetary incentives, distance and transaction costs may be the strongest contributing
factors to low rates of obtaining results. On the other hand, it may be that increased distance also
In Balaka, 62 percent of the respondents are Muslim as opposed to less than 1 percent in Mchinji and Rumphi.
Women in Balaka may also be less independent: in 2001, only 10 percent of Balaka women reported going to the health
center without their husband’s permission, as opposed to 22 percent in the other districts. VOL. 98 NO. 5 THORNTON: THE DEMAND fOR, AND IMpAcT Of, LEARNING HIV STATUS 1845 increased the likelihood that respondents did not know the location of the VCT sites, confounding the interpretation that travel costs alone reduce attendance.
HIV-positive individuals receiving an incentive were less likely to seek their test results than
those who were HIV-negative (Table 5, column 5). There was also an effect of being HIV positive and living farther away from the VCT center: HIV-positives living over 1.5 kilometers from
the center were approximately 6.6 percentage points less likely to attend than HIV-negatives
living over 1.5 kilometers, perhaps because they were more likely to be sick, making travel more
costly (Table 5, column 6). However, these differences were not statistically significant, likely
due in part to the small number of HIV-positive individuals.
In sum, both monetary incentives and distance had large impacts on obtaining HIV results.
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