Larger HIV Prevention Programs in Low-, Middle-Income Countries Can Reduce Costs, Increase Efficacy, Study Says
Larger HIV prevention programs in low- and middle-income countries can reduce program unit costs and increase efficacy, according to a study published recently in BMC Health Services Research, Asian News International reports. For the study, Elliott Marseille, a researcher at the University of California-San Francisco's Institute for Health Policy Studies, and colleagues examined HIV prevention programs in India, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and Uganda. They studied six types of ongoing prevention interventions:
- Voluntary counseling and testing;
- Programs that target commercial sex workers;
- Provision of treatment for other sexually transmitted infections;
- Information, communication and education projects;
- Risk-reduction programs for injection drug users; and
- Initiatives that aim to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission.
According to Marseille, the researchers found that each doubling of the scale of a program reduced the average unit cost by one-third. He added that although the study is "broad," its findings indicate that "rapidly ramping up well-run, existing programs could have an immediate, startling effect in improving efficiency, reducing costs and containing" the spread of HIV.
According to James Kahn, a professor at IHPS and UCSF's AIDS Research Institute, the study's finding indicate that the increase in spending required to implement the recommendations in a recent report from the Global HIV Prevention Working Group could "not only increase capacity but potentially also increase efficiency by lowering unit costs of prevention services." He added, "This means that more HIV infections may be averted" (Asian News International, 7/12).
The study is available online. This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.