Background: By the end of 2011 Global Fund investments will be supporting 3.5 million people on antiretroviral therapy (ART) in 104 low- and middle-income countries. We estimated the cost and health impact of continuing treatment for these patients through 2020. Methods and Findings: Survival on first-line and second-line ART regimens is estimated based on annual retention rates reported by national AIDS programs. Costs per patient-year were calculated from country-reported ARV procurement prices, and expenditures on laboratory tests, health care utilization and end-of-life care from in-depth costing studies. Of the 3.5 million ART patients in 2011, 2.3 million will still need treatment in 2020. The annual cost of maintaining ART falls from $1.9 billion in 2011 to $1.7 billion in 2020, as a result of a declining number of surviving patients partially offset by increasing costs as more patients migrate to second-line therapy. The Global Fund is expected to continue being a major contributor to meeting this financial need, alongside other international funders and domestic resources. Costs would be $150 million less in 2020 with an annual 5% decline in first-line ARV prices and $150-370 million less with a 5%-12% annual decline in second-line prices, but $200 million higher in 2020 with phase out of stavudine (d4T), or $200 million higher with increased migration to second-line regimens expected if all countries routinely adopted viral load monitoring. Deaths postponed by ART correspond to 830,000 life-years saved in 2011, increasing to around 2.3 million life-years every year between 2015 and 2020. Conclusions: Annual patient-level direct costs of supporting a patient cohort remain fairly stable over 2011-2020, if current antiretroviral prices and delivery costs are maintained. Second-line antiretroviral prices are a major cost driver, underscoring the importance of investing in treatment quality to improve retention on first-line regimens.

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Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0021048, hdl.handle.net/1765/26596
Citation
Stover, J., Korenromp, E.L., Blakley, M., Komatsu, R., Viisainen, K.M., Bollinger, L., & Atun, R.. (2011). Long-term costs and health impact of continued global fund support for antiretroviral therapy. PLoS ONE, 6(6). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021048