Early HIV Treatment Is Cost-Effective Over Long Term, Study Says

“Treating people with HIV soon after they become infected is cost-effective over the long term, according to a study out Wednesday [in the New England Journal of Medicine] that focused on South Africa and India,” Agence France-Presse reports. “By projecting the treatment costs over time and accounting for the effects of better health and fewer infections, researchers found long-term economic benefits in both countries,” the news agency writes (10/30). “While most of the benefits of early treatment were seen in the HIV-infected patients — fewer illnesses and deaths — there were also added health care and economic cost savings from reducing HIV transmission, according to the study,” HealthDay News reports (Preidt, 10/30).

Study co-author Rochelle Walensky of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) said, “In short, early [antiretroviral therapy (ART)] is a ‘triple winner’: HIV-infected patients live healthier lives, their partners are protected from HIV, and the investment is superb. … This study provides a critical answer to an urgent policy question,” according to AFP (10/30). Co-author Kenneth Freedberg, director of the MGH Medical Practice Evaluation Center and professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, said, “We believe that continued international public and private partnerships can make [early HIV treatment cost effective] in other countries as well. With this kind of investment, we foresee dramatic decreases in infections and illness that could save millions of lives over the next decade,” an MGH press release states (10/30).

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

KFF Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270

www.kff.org | Email Alerts: kff.org/email | facebook.com/KFF | twitter.com/kff

The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.