Preventing HIV infection with anti-HIV drugs in people at risk is cost-effective

An HIV prevention strategy in which people at risk of becoming exposed to HIV take antiretroviral drugs to reduce their chance of becoming infected (often referred to as pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP), may be a cost-effective method of preventing HIV in some settings, according to a study by international researchers published in this week's PLOS Medicine.

In an analysis of 13 modelling studies led by Gabriela Gomez from the Department of , Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam/AIGHD in The Netherlands, the authors evaluated the impact of pre-exposure prophylaxis in different populations (, men who have sex with men, and people who inject drugs) in different regions and countries, such as , Ukraine, the US, and Peru.

They found that in every setting, the cost of was an important factor influencing the affordability of effective prevention programmes but delivery of pre-exposure prophylaxis to populations at higher risk of HIV exposure appeared to be the most cost-effective strategy. The authors also found that both behavioural changes and adherence to the pre-exposure prophylaxis drug regimens affected programme effectiveness.

The authors say: "Our findings show that pre-exposure prophylaxis has the potential to be a cost-effective addition to HIV prevention programmes in some settings."

They continue: "However, the cost-effectiveness of pre-exposure prophylaxis is likely to depend on considerations such as cost, the epidemic context, pre-exposure prophylaxis programme coverage and prioritisation strategies, as well as individual adherence levels and pre-exposure prophylaxis efficacy estimates."

The authors add: "Given that our review shows that both the setting and which population is prioritised for pre-exposure prophylaxis are critical drivers of cost-effectiveness, the next step is to conduct context-specific demonstration studies, including comprehensive cost analyses, of different prioritisation and adherence promotion strategies to ensure that the maximum benefit from the introduction of pre-exposure prophylaxis is realised within combination HIV prevention programmes."

More information: Gomez GB, Borquez A, Case KK, Wheelock A, Vassall A, et al. (2013) The Cost and Impact of Scaling Up Pre-exposure Prophylaxis for HIV Prevention: A Systematic Review of Cost-Effectiveness Modelling Studies. PLoS Med 10(3): e1001401. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001401

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Effectiveness of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis in Peru

Oct 09, 2012

In this week's PLOS Medicine, Anna Borquez from Imperial College London and an international group of authors developed a mathematical model representing the HIV epidemic among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transwomen in Lim ...

Drugs used to treat HIV also reduce risk of HIV infection

Jul 10, 2012

People at high risk of HIV infection can reduce their risk of acquiring the disease by taking antiretroviral drugs, according to Cochrane researchers. In an update of a systematic review first published in 2009, the researchers ...

Recommended for you

New study reveals why some people may be immune to HIV-1

Nov 20, 2014

Doctors have long been mystified as to why HIV-1 rapidly sickens some individuals, while in others the virus has difficulties gaining a foothold. Now, a study of genetic variation in HIV-1 and in the cells ...

Virus discovery could impact HIV drug research

Nov 20, 2014

A research team led by Portland State University (PSU) biology professor Ken Stedman has unlocked the structure of an unusual virus that lives in volcanic hot springs. The discovery could pave the way for better drugs to ...

UN warns over threat of AIDS rebound

Nov 19, 2014

South African actress Charlize Theron threw her weight Tuesday behind an urgent new UN campaign to end AIDS as a global health threat by 2030.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.