The private demand for a hypothetical vaccine that would provide lifetime protection against HIV/AIDS to an uninfected adult was measured in Guadalajara, Mexico, using the concept of willingness to pay (WTP). A 91-question survey instrument was administered by trained enumerators employing contingent valuation techniques to 234 adults, aged 18-60. Our estimates of private demand indicate that individuals anticipate sizable personal benefits from such a vaccine, and that they would be willing to allocate a substantial portion of their income to be protected in this way from HIV infection.
A conservative estimate of the mean WTP of adults in the Guadalajara sample is 6358 pesos (US$ 669) and the median is 3000 pesos (US$ 316). A multivariate statistical analysis of the determinants of individuals' WTP shows that individuals with higher incomes, with spouses or partners, and with higher perceived risks of becoming infected with HIV are willing to pay more for the vaccine. Older respondents are willing to pay less. These results suggest that there is likely to be a potentially large private market for a HIV/AIDS vaccine in the middle-income developing countries such as Mexico. These findings have important implications both for the level of R&D; effort that is devoted to a vaccine and, assuming these efforts are successful, for future policies to make the vaccine available to the public.
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