CD4 Tests Can Reduce Costs, Extend Lives of HIV-Positive People in Africa, Study Says
"Cost-Effectiveness of HIV Monitoring Strategies in Resource-Limited Settings," Archives of Internal Medicine: The use of a CD4 test could help reduce costs and extend the lives of HIV-positive people in Southern Africa, according to a study conducted by researchers at Stanford University's School of Medicine and the Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Health Care System. For the study, researchers used a mathematical model to examine the costs and health benefits of monitoring HIV-positive people in Southern Africa through CD4 tests or viral load testing, compared with symptom management alone. Patients who received the CD4 test alone lived about 11.8 months longer than those whose symptoms were monitored, while those who received viral load testing lived about two months longer. The cost savings per patient was $417 among those who received the CD4 test, compared with those whose symptoms were monitored. The researchers recommended that access to CD4 testing be expanded throughout Southern Africa. The researchers also called on government and private groups to invest in cell-sorter machines, which analyze CD4 tests in about 10 minutes, and to train health workers to administer the test (Stanford University School of Medicine release, 9/22).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.