Objective: We sought to project the lifetime cost of medical care for human immunodefiency virus (HIV)-infected adults using current antiretroviral therapy (ART) standards.
Methods: Medical visits and hospitalizations for any reason were from the HIV Research Network, a consortium of high-volume HIV primary care sites. HIV treatment drug regimen efficacies were from clinical guidelines and published sources; data on other drugs used were not available. In a computer simulation model, we projected HIV medical care costs in 2004 U.S. dollars.
Results: From the time of entering HIV care, per person projected life expectancy is 24.2 years, discounted lifetime cost is $385,200, and undiscounted cost is $618,900 for adults who initiate ART with CD4 cell count <350/μL. Seventy-three percent of the cost is antiretroviral medications, 13% inpatient care, 9% outpatient care, and 5% other HIV-related medications and laboratory costs. For patients who initiate ART with CD4 cell count <200/μL, projected life expectancy is 22.5 years, discounted lifetime cost is $354,100 and undiscounted cost is $567,000. Results are sensitive to drug manufacturers' discounts, ART efficacy, and use of enfuvirtide for salvage. If costs are discounted to the time of infection, the discounted lifetime cost is $303,100.
Conclusions: Effective ART regimens have substantially improved survival and have increased the lifetime cost of HIV-related medical care in the U.S.