Annual U.S. Health Care Costs Per AIDS Patient Averages $34,000, Analysis Says
The average annual cost of caring for an individual in the "advanced stages" of AIDS is $34,000 in the United States, according to an analysis released yesterday at the XIV International AIDS Conference in Barcelona, Spain, Reuters reports. In the "first comprehensive analysis" of the health care costs of U.S. HIV/AIDS patients, Michael Saag of the University of Alabama examined the health care costs for 700 HIV and AIDS patients over a two-year period. While the health care costs for a patient with an AIDS diagnosis averaged $34,000 per year, the health care costs for an HIV-positive patient totaled approximately $14,000 per year, Saag said. He noted that antiretroviral medications -- which cost approximately "$11,000 [per year] for well patients to about $24,000 [per year] for sicker patients" -- make up the "largest proportion" of HIV and AIDS patients' health care costs. The cost of hospital care accounted for the second-largest proportion of annual health care costs for patients with HIV or AIDS, averaging between $1,700 and $7,800 per year. According to Reuters, the figures in the study "highlight the financial burden of modern treatments" that have helped HIV/AIDS patients in developed nations but "remain out of reach" for those in the developing world (Reuters, 7/10).
A Webcast of Saag's presentation is available online.