Background: Lifetime costs of care and quality-of-life estimates for HIV-infected persons depend on the disease stage at which these persons are diagnosed, enter care, and start antiretroviral therapy. Updated estimates were used to analyze the effects of late versus early diagnosis/entry on US lifetime care costs, quality-of-life estimates, and HIV transmissions.
Methods: The Progression and Transmission of HIV/AIDS model was used to estimate discounted (3%) lifetime treatment costs ($US 2011) and quality-of-life variables from time of infection for cohorts of 10,000 HIV-infected index patients in 4 categories of CD4 count at diagnosis: (I) ≤200 cells/μL, (II) 201–350 cells/μL, (III) 351–500 cells/μL, and (IV) 501–900 cells/μL. It is assumed that index patient diagnoses were uniformly distributed across the CD4 count range in each category and that patients entered care at the time of diagnosis, remained in care, and were eligible to initiate antiretroviral therapy at a CD4 count of 500 cells/μL. Lifetime transmissions of the index patients were also estimated.
Results: Discounted average lifetime costs varied from $253,000 for category I index patients to $402,000 for category IV patients. Discounted quality-adjusted life years lost decreased from 7.95 to 4.45 across these categories, additional years of life expectancy increased from 30.8 to 38.1, and lifetime transmissions decreased from 1.40 to 0.72.
Conclusions: Early diagnosis and treatment of HIV infection increases lifetime costs but improves length and quality of life and reduces the number of new infections transmitted by nearly 50%.