This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: HIV results of randomized associated
benefits (monetary incentives for attending a VCT center) and costs (travel distance to the VCT
center). It also estimates the impact of learning HIV results on subsequent condom purchases.
I find that a monetary incentive of less than a tenth of a day’s wage doubled the rate of resultseeking among respondents; I also find that distance to a VCT center from a respondent’s home
had a strong negative impact on result-seeking. I find that HIV-positive individuals with a sexual
partner who had obtained their test results exhibited a higher demand for condoms than those
who had not, supporting the view that individuals aware of their HIV-positive status are willing
to bear the costs of safe sex in order to protect sexual partners.
The finding that learning HIV-negative test results had little impact on the demand for condoms is difficult to interpret, since it implies indifference to using a highly effective prevention
strategy to avert infection by a deadly virus. It should be noted, however, that these analyses are
limited to examining the impact of learning HIV status on condom purchases. Future research
will explore other preventive responses to learning HIV status.
This study contradicts widely held views that large psychological or stigma-related costs are
barriers to learning HIV results. For example, one organization, discussing barriers faced by those
traveling to HIV results centers in Zimbabwe, stated: “The cost of stigma is quite high, more so
than the bus fare to town” (Emedie Gunduza 2002). However, the evidence from this experiment
in Malawi indicates that such psychological barriers, if they exist, can easily and inexpensively
be overcome. Cash incentives may directly compensate for the real costs (e.g., travel expenses,
missed work) or psychological costs of obtaining HIV results, or they may indirectly reduce the 23
It should also be noted that purchases of subsidized condoms were only made after respondents were given 30
cents—without this gift, it is likely that condom sales would have been even lower.
Sweat et al. (2000) estimated that HIV testing in Kenya a...
View Full Document