Evaluating the cost-effectiveness of combination antiretroviral therapy for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Uganda
Andreas Kuznik, Mohammed Lamorde, Sabine Hermans, Barbara Castelnuovo, Brandon Auerbach, Aggrey Semeere, Joseph Sempa, Mark Ssennono, Fred Ssewankambo & Yukari C Manabe
To model the cost-effectiveness in Uganda of combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) to prevent mother-to-child transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
The cost-effectiveness of ART was evaluated on the assumption that ART reduces the risk of an HIV-positive pregnant woman transmitting HIV to her baby from 40% (when the woman is left untreated) to 25.8%, 17.4% and 3.8%, respectively, when the woman is given: (i) single-dose nevirapine (at an estimated total drug cost of 0.06 United States dollars [US$]); (ii) dual therapy with zidovudine and lamivudine for 7 weeks (at a total drug cost of US$ 15.63); or (iii) ART for 18 months (at a total annual cost of US$ 469.77). Lifetime ART (US$ 6883), recommended for pregnant women with < 350 CD4+ T lymphocytes per mm3, was assumed to give the same reduction in transmission risk in each subsequent pregnancy.
Compared with single-dose nevirapine, dual therapy and no therapy, 18 months of ART averted 5.21, 3.22 and 8.58 disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), respectively, at a cost of US$ 46, US$ 99 and US$ 34 per DALY averted. The corresponding figures for lifetime ART are, respectively, 19.20, 11.87 and 31.60 DALYs averted, at a cost of US$ 205, US$ 354 and US$ 172 per DALY averted.
In Uganda, ART appears highly cost-effective for the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission, even if continued over the patients’ lifetimes. Given the additional public health benefits of ART, efforts to ensure that all HIV-positive pregnant women have access to lifelong ART should be intensified.