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Unformatted text preview: is representative. The primary reason
for attrition across all waves of data is temporary and permanent migration. For example, in
2004, 21 percent of those interviewed in 2001 were away or had moved, which is comparable to
the attrition rates due to out-migration of other longitudinal studies in Africa (Antony Chapoto
and Thomas S. Jayne 2005; John Maluccio 2000; Simona Bignami–Van Assche, Reniers, and
Weinreb 2003). No village ever refused to participate in data collection and less than 1 percent
of those approached in 2004 refused to be interviewed. Despite the attrition across waves of the
MDICP panel, baseline characteristics in 2004 are similar to those of a population-based survey
that was also conducted in Malawi in 2004 (NSO Malawi 2005). In that survey, 72.8 percent
of the women (age 15–49) living in rural Malawi were married or cohabitating with a partner
(versus 71 percent in the MDICP 2004 data); 4.3 percent of women and 13.1 percent of men
reported using a condom at last intercourse (versus 16.4 percent of the women and 27.3 percent
of the men who reported using a condom in the previous year in the MDICP 2004 data); and 14
percent reported ever having an HIV test (versus 18 percent in the MDICP 2004 data). These
comparisons provide support to the external validity of the findings of this study for other rural
populations in Malawi, and perhaps other rural parts of Africa.
Test refusals may also be a source of bias: 9 percent of those approached refused to be tested
for HIV. In comparison to other studies conducting HIV testing, such as the DHS Malawi (2004),
this is a relatively low refusal rate. This may be attributable to the method of testing through
saliva, or to the fact that respondents were not required to learn their results at the time of testing.
Observable characteristics (such as gender, age, or marital status) are not significant predictors
of accepting an HIV test. Respondents’ prior beliefs of infection status also do not predict refusing an H...
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