The CDC recommends routine voluntary HIV testing of all patients 13-64 years of age. Despite this recommendation, HIV testing rates are low even among those at identifiable risk, and many patients do not return to receive their results.
To examine the costs and benefits of strategies to improve HIV testing and receipt of results.
Cost-effectiveness analysis based on a Markov model. Acceptance of testing, return rates, and related costs were derived from a randomized trial of 251 patients; long-term costs and health outcomes were derived from the literature.
Primary-care patients with unknown HIV status.
Comparison of three intervention models for HIV counseling and testing: Model A = traditional HIV counseling and testing; Model B = nurse-initiated routine screening with traditional HIV testing and counseling; Model C = nurse-initiated routine screening with rapid HIV testing and streamlined counseling.
Life-years, quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), costs and incremental cost-effectiveness.
Without consideration of the benefit from reduced HIV transmission, Model A resulted in per-patient lifetime discounted costs of $48,650 and benefits of 16.271 QALYs. Model B increased lifetime costs by $53 and benefits by 0.0013 QALYs (corresponding to 0.48 quality-adjusted life days). Model C cost $66 more than Model A with an increase of 0.0018 QALYs (0.66 quality-adjusted life days) and an incremental cost-effectiveness of $36,390/QALY. When we included the benefit from reduced HIV transmission, Model C cost $10,660/QALY relative to Model A. The cost-effectiveness of Model C was robust in sensitivity analyses.
In a primary-care population, nurse-initiated routine screening with rapid HIV testing and streamlined counseling increased rates of testing and receipt of test results and was cost-effective compared with traditional HIV testing strategies.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11606-010-1265-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.