U.S. HIV Prevention Efforts May Have Prevented 1.5 Million Domestic HIV Infections and Saved Billions of Dollars, Study Says
HIV prevention efforts may have prevented as many as 1.5 million U.S. HIV infections, according to a new study published in the journal AIDS: The Official Journal of the International AIDS Society, Reuters Health reports (McCook, Reuters Health, 11/25). Dr. David Holtgrave of Emory University used data on HIV/AIDS trends in the United States, the infection rates in developing countries that do not have the resources to prevent new infections and scientific models of epidemics to produce four scenarios of the number of HIV cases that would have occurred in the United States without the presence of HIV prevention efforts. Based on the four models, Holtgrave estimated that HIV/AIDS prevention efforts averted 200,000 to 1.5 million HIV infections in the United States. Approximately 40,000 new HIV cases occur in the United States each year (Fox, Reuters, 11/22). Holtgrave also calculated that the United States has spent approximately $10.1 billion on domestic HIV prevention efforts, roughly $6,400 to $49,700 per HIV infection prevented, while treatment costs for an HIV-positive patient can be as much as $195,000 over their lifetime (Reuters Health, 11/25). "Although limited by multiple sources of uncertainty, the findings indicate a strong likelihood that HIV prevention efforts to date in the United States have literally saved hundreds of thousands of Americans and have resulted in significant cost savings to society," Holtgrave said, adding that HIV prevention efforts have saved the United States $11 billion. He added that his calculations did not account for other benefits of prevented HIV infections such as increased worker productivity and decreased pain and suffering (BBC News, 11/22). Holtgrave said that more money must be spent on domestic HIV prevention programs, adding that current spending on such programs would need to be increased by $300 million each year for four years to "give everybody at risk of HIV infection in the United States really state-of-the-science prevention services" (Reuters, 11/22).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.