Background: Few studies have assessed the effects of antiretroviral therapy (ART) to prevent HIV transmission in Asian HIV epidemics. Vietnam has a concentrated HIV epidemic with the highest prevalence among people who inject drugs. We investigated the impact of expanded HIV testing and counseling (HTC) and early ART, combined with other prevention interventions on HIV transmission.
Methods: A deterministic mathematical model was developed using HIV prevalence trends in Can Tho province, Vietnam. Scenarios included offering periodic HTC and immediate ART with and without targeting subpopulations and examining combined strategies with methadone maintenance therapy and condom use.
Results: From 2011 to 2050, maintaining current interventions will incur an estimated 18,115 new HIV infections and will cost US $22.1 million (reference scenario). Annual HTC and immediate treatment, if offered to all adults, will reduce new HIV infections by 14,513 (80%) and will cost US $76.9 million. Annual HTC and immediate treatment offered only to people who inject drugs will reduce new infections by 13,578 (75%) and will cost only US $23.6 million. Annual HTC and immediate treatment for key populations, combined with scale-up of methadone maintenance therapy and condom use, will reduce new infections by 14,723 (81%) with similar costs (US $22.7 million). This combination prevention scenario will reduce the incidence to less than 1 per 100,000 in 14 years and will result in a relative cost saving after 19 years.
Conclusions: Targeted periodic HTC and immediate ART combined with other interventions is cost-effective and could lead to potential elimination of HIV in Can Tho.