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Cost-effective: Universal HIV testing in India
Date:6/10/2013

ptions for HIV testing in India," Swaminathan said. "As India moves ahead in its HIV prevention activities and aims for zero new infections, expanding testing will be a key priority and this analysis should help policymakers make the best decisions."

Dollars per life-years saved

The main results from the model are projections of the dollar cost per year of extended lifespan. The World Health Organization's standard for cost effectiveness is an expenditure that is less than three times the per capita GDP of a country. In India in 2010, per capita GDP was $1,300. A program is therefore cost-effective in India if the expense is less than $3,900 to save a year of someone's life.

Modern antiretroviral therapies can give HIV-positive people a normal lifespan, and in India, which has a thriving generic pharmaceutical sector, first-line therapy costs only $8.61 a month (second-line therapy for those whose viruses prove resistant is $55.12 a month). HIV tests, meanwhile, cost only $3.33.

After extensive research to determine the best possible data for the country, Venkatesh, Becker, and the team coded several other parameters into the model including what percentage of people would refuse the test (18 percent), how many patients who test positive would get care (50 percent), the prevalence of HIV in the population (0.29 percent), and many other factors such as the monthly risk of opportunistic infection in positive patients, hospitalization costs, the effectiveness rate of therapy, and the likelihood of positive patients transmitting the virus to others.

They ran the models not only for the general population but also for people in high-risk districts and high-risk groups (e.g., with a higher prevalence of the virus but with more frequent testing today).

As they ran the numbers to determine the costs and effects on patients of broader and more frequent testing, they compared the results to what would happen under t
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Contact: David Orenstein
david_orenstein@brown.edu
401-863-1862
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert

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