Wider Usage of HIV Treatment as Prevention Saves Long-Term Cost

Dr. Bohdan Nosyk, PhD, from the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, who is St. Paul's Hospital CANFAR Chair in HIV/AIDS Research at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia and colleagues, reported that by expanding the use of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) treatment as a means of prevention saves more money in a long run. This study was recently published in Lancet HIV. Prior to conducting this study, questions on feasibility, value, and cost of population-level implementation of highly active antiretroviral treatment (ART) and widespread HIV screening as means of prevention were previously unanswered, hence this study.

Dr. Bohdan Nosyk and colleagues conducted their study using a comprehensive linked population-level data. They used the HIV/AIDS epidemic in British Columbia from 1997 to 2010 to populate a dynamic, compartmental transmission model to estimate HIV quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), costs, mortality, prevalence, and incidence for the duration of the study. Comparison of actual numbers of individuals accessing ART to scenarios of constrained ART access were calculated by taking into account incremental cost-effectiveness ratios from third-party-payer and societal perspectives. They also investigated parameter and structural uncertainty.

Results of the study indicated that a population that has 100% access to ART could save up to $65.5 million by 2035, while at 75% access to ART, the savings would be $25.1 million by 2035. Further details on the results of the study can be found here. Dr. Anton Pozniak, MD, from Chelsea and Westminster National Health Service Foundation Trust and Imperial College in London, United Kingdom, uninvolved in the study, commented that this study have shown that universal ART is economically more feasible. Dr. Anton Pozniak added that without a cure for HIV, the model studied would have to factor in that patients would need to receive treatment until they died. He continued by stating that this issue of continued therapy is beyond the 25 years studied by Dr. Bohdan Nosyk and colleagues as the current life expectancy is estimated to be longer than 60 years.


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