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Researchers show cost-effectiveness of HIV testing in drug abuse treatment programs
Date:9/9/2012

NEW YORK (September 9, 2012) -- Less than half of community-based substance abuse treatment programs in the United States currently make HIV testing available on-site or through referral. A new study led by researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College shows the cost-effectiveness of integrating on-site rapid HIV testing into drug treatment programs.

The study, published in today's issue of Drug and Alcohol Dependence, is a collaboration with the HIV Rapid Testing and Counseling Study trial, sponsored by the National Drug Abuse Clinical Trials Network. The randomized clinical trial conducted in 12 community-based substance abuse treatment programs in 2009 found that 80 percent of the participants offered on-site HIV testing with a rapid test accepted the testing offer and obtained test results, as compared with less than 20 percent of those referred for off-site testing. These recent results were published in the June issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

The new study measured the cost-effectiveness of on-site rapid HIV testing in drug abuse treatment programs using data from the HIV Rapid Testing and Counseling Study, including patient demographics, prior testing history, test acceptance and receipt of results, undiagnosed HIV prevalence and program costs. Researchers used the Cost Effectiveness of Preventing AIDS Complications (CEPAC) computer simulation model to project life expectancy, lifetime costs and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) for the HIV-infected individuals. The researchers calculated the cost per QALY with and without on-site testing, also taking into account the costs associated with testing individuals who turn out not to be HIV-infected.

"Our cost-effectiveness analysis supports integrating HIV screening and prevention services with substance abuse treatment programs, which is called for in President Barack Obama's National HIV/AIDS Strategy, " says the study's lead investigator Dr. Bruce R. S
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Contact: Lauren Woods
law2014@med.cornell.edu
212-821-0560
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College
Source:Eurekalert

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