HIV Screening Among People Ages 55, Older Worthwhile, Study Finds
Screening for HIV/AIDS among people ages 55 and older is worthwhile in terms of the potential savings in health care costs and the years of life gained from early detection, according to a study published Tuesday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Reuters Health reports. CDC guidelines recommend routine HIV screening for people between ages 13 and 64.
For the study, Gillian Sanders of Duke University and colleagues calculated the cost of HIV screening and counseling among people age 65 to determine the costs and benefits of screening among people ages 55 to 75. According to the study, the costs and benefits of HIV screening depend on the total expense of testing and counseling, prevalence of the disease in the community, likelihood of transmission and the potential benefits when the disease is caught early. The study found that the cost of screening a person age 65 would be less than $60,000 for every "quality-adjusted life-year saved," even in areas where one in 1,000 people is HIV-positive, Reuters Health reports.
According to the researchers, the cost-benefit ratio compares favorably with other interventions that are considered worthwhile. "Advanced age alone should not preclude screening for HIV," the researchers said, concluding, "Rather, for many people in this age group, the cost-effectiveness of screening is within the range of that of other accepted interventions" (Reuters Health, 6/16).
The study is available online.