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Keeping HIV Patients on ART Will Have Long-Term Economic Benefits, Study Shows

October 6, 2011

Investments to keep 3.5 million people living with HIV on antiretroviral drugs provided by programs co-financed through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria through 2020 will cost an estimated $14.2 billion, but "the financial savings would amount to between $12 billion and $34 billion," according to a study published in the journal PLoS One, Sarah Boseley reports in her "Global Health Blog" in the Guardian (10/5).

Researchers from the Results for Development Institute, Harvard School of Public Health, the Global Fund, and Imperial College in the U.K., used 2009 antiretroviral therapy (ART) prices and program costs to determine that such an "investment is expected to save 18.5 million life-years and return $12 to $34 billion through increased labor productivity, averted orphan care, and deferred medical treatment for opportunistic infections and end-of-life care," according to the study. The researchers note that the "estimates of ART program cost, particularly for service delivery and for orphan care, are limited by shortcomings in the available data" and did not examine the cost of scaling up existing ART programs, but do state that "[s]uch actions are likely to have favorable benefit-cost profiles" (Resch et al., 10/5).

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