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OPINION: New HIV Infections More Expensive Than Providing Antiretroviral Drugs To Existing Patients

In light of study findings released last week showing the risk of HIV transmission can be reduced by 96 percent if HIV-positive patients begin combination antiretroviral therapy as soon as possible, a San Francisco Chronicle editorial asks, “The evidence is clearly starting to show that it’s much better to treat patients earlier, but from where will the money come?”

The editorial continues, “Many poor countries, already struggling to deliver therapy to those with full-blown AIDS, will probably conclude that they can’t afford to launch early treatment programs for people who aren’t already sick. … [But]what are really expensive are new HIV infections. Early treatment offers enormous returns for patients’ health and productivity, and now, it appears, that benefit extends to their partners as well. It doesn’t come cheaper than that” (5/14).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.