In particular it is assumed that those diagnosed hiv

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Unformatted text preview: spread of the disease. In particular, it is assumed that those diagnosed HIV-negative will protect themselves from infection and those diagnosed HIV-positive will take precautions to protect others. Second, many believe that it is difficult to get people to learn their HIV status, due primarily to psychological or social barriers, thus justifying expenditures on destigmatization and advertising campaigns. In this paper, I evaluate a field experiment in rural Malawi designed to address these assumptions. I find that barriers to obtaining HIV test results can be easily overcome by offering small cash incentives or by reducing the distance needed to travel for the results. I also find that while receiving an HIV-positive diagnosis has a significant effect on the subsequent purchase of condoms, the overall magnitude of the effect is small. The results in this paper suggest that, relative to other available prevention strategies or targeting high-risk populations, doorto-door HIV testing may not be the most effective HIV prevention strategy, as measured by condom purchases. Previous studies have attempted to measure the demand for learning HIV status, as well as the subsequent behavioral effects. Most studies have relied on self-reported behavior by asking individuals if they want to know their HIV status (e.g., John H. Day et al. 2003; Joseph de Graft–Johnson et al. 2005; Susan M. Laver 2001; Stanley P. Yoder and Pricilla Matinga 2004) or asking about reported sexual behavior (e.g., The Voluntary HIV-1 Counseling and Testing Efficacy Study Group 2000; M. Kamenga et al. 1994; M. Temmerman et al. 1990; and Lance S. Weinhardt et al. 1999). Self-selection is also a serious limitation to evaluating the effects of learning HIV results. Most, if not all, studies use a sample of individuals who self-select into knowing their HIV status.3 The design of this experiment avoids the usual complications of selection and reporting bias because it randomized individual incentives to learn HIV status, randomized the location of VCT centers where HIV results were available, measured actual post-test attendance at centers to obtain results, and measured actual condom purchases subseque...
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