January 8, 2013
We know today that we can end this country's HIV epidemic. Treatment as prevention works. Syringe exchange programs work. Prevention and testing outreach to special populations works. We have the tools we need to get the job done.
We also know that ending the epidemic will save billions (trillions?) in future treatment costs and years of employment lost, but it's going to be expensive in the short term. We have to find everyone who is positive, link them to treatment, and pay for their HIV antiviral drugs and health care for the whole person, not just for HIV infection. That will cost dollars and cents, and also political and moral capital for ending the stigmas that discourage testing and treatment.
We can't end the epidemic without facing the cost.
Two health care cost issues have been in the air this month. The first is drug prices. The second is more general: what would a more cost-effective health care system look like?