This page provides access to all research articles developed by the HIV Modelling Consortium, in addition to meeting reports and relevant reading.
Using modeling to inform international guidelines for antiretroviral treatment.
Health benefits, costs, and cost-effectiveness of earlier eligibility for adult antiretroviral therapy and expanded treatment coverage: a combined analysis of 12 mathematical modelsAbstract:Download PDF: 1-s2.0-S2214109X13701724-main.pdf
New WHO guidelines recommend initiation of antiretroviral therapy for HIV-positive adults with CD4 counts of 500 cells per μL or less, a higher threshold than was previously recommended. Country decision makers have to decide whether to further expand eligibility for antiretroviral therapy accordingly. We aimed to assess the potential health benefits, costs, and cost-effectiveness of various eligibility criteria for adult antiretroviral therapy and expanded treatment coverage.
We used several independent mathematical models in four settings—South Africa (generalised epidemic, moderate antiretroviral therapy coverage), Zambia (generalised epidemic, high antiretroviral therapy coverage), India (concentrated epidemic, moderate antiretroviral therapy coverage), and Vietnam (concentrated epidemic, low antiretroviral therapy coverage)—to assess the potential health benefits, costs, and cost-effectiveness of various eligibility criteria for adult antiretroviral therapy under scenarios of existing and expanded treatment coverage, with results projected over 20 years. Analyses assessed the extension of eligibility to include individuals with CD4 counts of 500 cells per μL or less, or all HIV-positive adults, compared with the previous (2010) recommendation of initiation with CD4 counts of 350 cells per μL or less. We assessed costs from a health-system perspective, and calculated the incremental cost (in US$) per disability-adjusted life-year (DALY) averted to compare competing strategies. Strategies were regarded very cost effective if the cost per DALY averted was less than the country's 2012 per-head gross domestic product (GDP; South Africa: $8040; Zambia: $1425; India: $1489; Vietnam: $1407) and cost effective if the cost per DALY averted was less than three times the per-head GDP.
In South Africa, the cost per DALY averted of extending eligibility for antiretroviral therapy to adult patients with CD4 counts of 500 cells per μL or less ranged from $237 to $1691 per DALY averted compared with 2010 guidelines. In Zambia, expansion of eligibility to adults with a CD4 count threshold of 500 cells per μL ranged from improving health outcomes while reducing costs (ie, dominating the previous guidelines) to $749 per DALY averted. In both countries results were similar for expansion of eligibility to all HIV-positive adults, and when substantially expanded treatment coverage was assumed. Expansion of treatment coverage in the general population was also cost effective. In India, the cost for extending eligibility to all HIV-positive adults ranged from $131 to $241 per DALY averted, and in Vietnam extending eligibility to patients with CD4 counts of 500 cells per μL or less cost $290 per DALY averted. In concentrated epidemics, expanded access for key populations was also cost effective.
Our estimates suggest that earlier eligibility for antiretroviral therapy is very cost effective in low-income and middle-income settings, although these estimates should be revisited when more data become available. Scaling up antiretroviral therapy through earlier eligibility and expanded coverage should be considered alongside other high-priority health interventions competing for health budgets.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, WHO.
Cost-effectiveness of different strategies to monitor adults on antiretroviral treatment: a combined analysis of three mathematical modelsAbstract:Download PDF: 1-s2.0-S2214109X13700482-main.pdf
WHO's 2013 revisions to its Consolidated Guidelines on antiretroviral drugs recommend routine viral load monitoring, rather than clinical or immunological monitoring, as the preferred monitoring approach on the basis of clinical evidence. However, HIV programmes in resource-limited settings require guidance on the most cost-effective use of resources in view of other competing priorities such as expansion of antiretroviral therapy coverage. We assessed the cost-effectiveness of alternative patient monitoring strategies.
We evaluated a range of monitoring strategies, including clinical, CD4 cell count, and viral load monitoring, alone and together, at different frequencies and with different criteria for switching to second-line therapies. We used three independently constructed and validated models simultaneously. We estimated costs on the basis of resource use projected in the models and associated unit costs; we quantified impact as disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) averted. We compared alternatives using incremental cost-effectiveness analysis.
All models show that clinical monitoring delivers significant benefit compared with a hypothetical baseline scenario with no monitoring or switching. Regular CD4 cell count monitoring confers a benefit over clinical monitoring alone, at an incremental cost that makes it affordable in more settings than viral load monitoring, which is currently more expensive. Viral load monitoring without CD4 cell count every 6–12 months provides the greatest reductions in morbidity and mortality, but incurs a high cost per DALY averted, resulting in lost opportunities to generate health gains if implemented instead of increasing antiretroviral therapy coverage or expanding antiretroviral therapy eligibility.
The priority for HIV programmes should be to expand antiretroviral therapy coverage, firstly at CD4 cell count lower than 350 cells per μL, and then at a CD4 cell count lower than 500 cells per μL, using lower-cost clinical or CD4 monitoring. At current costs, viral load monitoring should be considered only after high antiretroviral therapy coverage has been achieved. Point-of-care technologies and other factors reducing costs might make viral load monitoring more affordable in future.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, WHO.
Towards an improved investment approach for an effective response to HIV/AIDS.Abstract:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60702-2
Substantial changes are needed to achieve a more targeted and strategic approach to investment in the response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic that will yield long-term dividends. Until now, advocacy for resources has been done on the basis of a commodity approach that encouraged scaling up of numerous strategies in parallel, irrespective of their relative effects. We propose a strategic investment framework that is intended to support better management of national and international HIV/AIDS responses than exists with the present system. Our framework incorporates major efficiency gains through community mobilisation, synergies between programme elements, and benefits of the extension of antiretroviral therapy for prevention of HIV transmission. It proposes three categories of investment, consisting of six basic programmatic activities, interventions that create an enabling environment to achieve maximum effectiveness, and programmatic efforts in other health and development sectors related to HIV/AIDS. The yearly cost of achievement of universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support by 2015 is estimated at no less than US$22 billion. Implementation of the new investment framework would avert 12·2 million new HIV infections and 7·4 million deaths from AIDS between 2011 and 2020 compared with continuation of present approaches, and result in 29·4 million life-years gained. The framework is cost effective at $1060 per life-year gained, and the additional investment proposed would be largely offset from savings in treatment costs alone.
Strengthening The Use of Mathematical Models in Community Trials Workshop Report
HIV Modelling Consortium Initiative on Incidence Assay Characterisation Workshop Report
The Potential Impact of Treatment on HIV Incidence Workshop Report