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Economic evaluation of universal prenatal HIV screening compared with current ‘at risk’ policy in a very low prevalence country


Objectives Our objective was to economically evaluate universal HIV prenatal screening in Israel, a very low prevalence country (0.1%), compared with the current policy of testing only women belonging to high-risk (HR) groups.

Design A cost-effectiveness analytical model was constructed. Life expectancies, direct medical costs and utility weights of an HIV-positive newborn and a healthy newborn were derived from the literature. Screening was assessed using fourth-generation combo tests. Structural uncertainties were discussed with leading Israeli HIV experts. Univariate and multivariate sensitivity analyses were conducted to account for uncertainty of the model's parameters.

Results Under the current policy, about 2700 women are tested annually identifying 27 HIV-positive women. With the universal screening, 171 000 women would be tested yearly identifying 37 as HIV positive. The analysis included the increased life expectancy of vertically infected children based on current standards of care. Over the lifetime expectancy, universal screening is projected to grant 15 additional quality-adjusted life years and save $177 521 when compared with the current HR only policy.

Conclusions Universal prenatal HIV screening is projected to be cost saving in Israel, despite a very low HIV prevalence in the general population.

  • AIDS

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