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Updated HIV therapy guidelines would reduce risk of transmission, save lives, billions in costs
Date:6/7/2010

atment coverage in B.C. under the 2006 IAS guidelines.

Results demonstrated that HAART expansion would result in a prompt decrease in HIV/AIDS morbidity and mortality and a decrease in new HIV infections. In five years, if the 50 per cent coverage scenario was adopted, B.C. was expected to avert 1,360 HIV infections, prevent the loss of 4,155 person years of disability and mortality, and avoid approximately $21 million in health care costs. Under this scenario, in 40 years 11,387 new HIV infections would be averted and the equivalent of $4.2 billion in HIV lifetime treatment costs could be avoided.

If coverage were increased to 75 per cent of medically eligible people, BC-CfE estimated that 14,911 new HIV infections would be averted in 40 years, representing $5.6 billion in avoided lifetime HIV treatment costs.

HAART, the landmark drug cocktail that was partially developed at the BC-CfE, has been adopted in Canada and around the world as the gold standard treatment for HIV. At an individual level, HAART stops HIV from progressing to AIDS, extends life expectancy, and significantly reduces HIV-related morbidity and mortality. At a community level, there is strong and growing evidence that people with HIV who are appropriately treated become dramatically less likely to transmit the virus.

The 2008 IAS-USA guidelines substantially expanded eligibility to HAART by, among other factors, raising the CD4 cell count at which treatment starts and recommending immediate treatment for those with underlying health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, HIV-associated nephropathy, and chronic hepatitis B or C.

Implementing the revised IAS-USA guidelines for the use of HAART in adults is associated with many challenges, including significant up-front costs. However, the BC-CfE analysis demonstrates that ramping up HAART would be highly cost-effective and cost-averting to the health care system within a decade.

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Contact: Graham Pollock
gpollock@cfenet.ubc.ca
604-806-9093
University of British Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

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