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Medical News

Canada: Study Says Increasing HIV Drug Treatment Will Save Millions Through Prevention

July 12, 2010

Expanding HIV therapy in British Columbia from 50 percent to 75 percent of those eligible would curtail the spread of the epidemic and save US $900 million over 30 years, suggests recent mathematical modeling from Canadian researchers.

The findings represent the first time researchers have quantified population-wide economic savings associated with expansion of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and prevention of new infections, said Dr. Julio Montaner, director of the British Columbia Center for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, which conducted the study.

"The failure of those new generations of infections to be materialized represents a huge saving," Montaner said. "Until now people have failed to incorporate into that cost-effectiveness the fact that by treating me I am not infecting you, her, him or whoever and they are not infecting Peter, Paul, Mary, and John," he said.

The center has been expanding the use of HAART, which is available at no cost to all B.C. residents. The center's initiative is the basis of a pilot project to identify and provide care to HIV-positive residents in the Downtown Eastside area of Vancouver and in Prince George, B.C. The targets are sex workers, injection drug users, and men who have sex with men.

"Increasing the HAART treatment rate from 50 [percent] to 75 percent of clinically eligible individuals in British Columbia appears to be a cost-effective strategy based on this model," the authors concluded. "These cost-effectiveness results are consistent with public health objectives: all individuals who are eligible for an established lifesaving treatment should receive it."

The full report, "Expanding Access to HAART: A Cost-Effective Approach for Treating and Preventing HIV," was published online ahead of print in AIDS (doi: 10.1097/QAD.0b013e32833af85d).

Back to other news for July 2010

Adapted from:
Canadian Press
07.07.2010; Camille Bains

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
More on HIV in Canada

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