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Direct treatment costs of HIV/AIDS in Portugal

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Julian Perelman
  • Joana Alves
  • Ana Cláudia Miranda
  • Ceu Mateus
  • Kamal Mansinho
  • Francisco Antunes
  • Joaquim Oliveira
  • José Poças
  • Manuela Doroana
  • Rui Marques
  • Eugénio Teófilo
  • João Pereira
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>10/2013
<mark>Journal</mark>Revista de saúde pública
Issue number5
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)865-872
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


OBJECTIVE: To analyze the direct medical costs of HIV/AIDS in Portugal from the perspective of the National Health Service.

METHODS: A retrospective analysis of medical records was conducted for 150 patients from five specialized centers in Portugal in 2008. Data on utilization of medical resources during 12 months and patients' characteristics were collected. A unit cost was applied to each care component using official sources and accounting data from National Health Service hospitals.

RESULTS: The average cost of treatment was 14,277 €/patient/year. The main cost-driver was antiretroviral treatment (€ 9,598), followed by hospitalization costs (€ 1,323). Treatment costs increased with the severity of disease from € 11,901 (> 500 CD4 cells/µl) to € 23,351 (CD4 count ≤ 50 cells/ µl). Cost progression was mainly due to the increase in hospitalization costs, while antiretroviral treatment costs remained stable over disease stages.

CONCLUSIONS: The high burden related to antiretroviral treatment is counterbalanced by relatively low hospitalization costs, which, however, increase with severity of disease. The relatively modest progression of total costs highlights that alternative public health strategies that do not affect transmission of disease may only have a limited impact on expenditure, since treatment costs are largely dominated by constant antiretroviral treatment costs.