Adherence to HIV therapy may cut healthcare costs, study finds

NEW YORK Increased adherence of HIV therapy may be cost-effective, according to a new study.

Researchers studied 6,833 HIV-infected adults in a South African HIV cohort who started antiretroviral therapy between Aug. 6, 2000, and April 20, 2006. The purpose of the study was to determine the effect of antiretroviral therapy adherence on direct healthcare costs among adults in a resource-limited setting.

The study, led by Jean Nachega, M.D., Harvard School of Public Health, and colleagues found high antiretroviral therapy adherence was associated with lower mean monthly direct healthcare costs, particularly reduced hospitalization costs. Although medication costs were higher for patients who took their drugs as prescribed, overall average monthly costs for those with the best adherence were $63 a month lower than for those with the worst adherence rates.

The findings were published in the Jan. 5 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. 

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