Opportunities for improved HIV prevention and treatment through budget optimization in Eswatini.
ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION:Eswatini achieved a 44% decrease in new HIV infections from 2014 to 2019 through substantial scale-up of testing and treatment. However, it still has one of the highest rates of HIV incidence in the world, with 14 infections per 1,000 adults 15-49 years estimated for 2017. The Government of Eswatini has called for an 85% reduction in new infections by 2023 over 2017 levels. To make further progress towards this target and to achieve maximum health gains, this study aims to model optimized investments of available HIV resources. METHODS:The Optima HIV model was applied to estimate the impact of efficiency strategies to accelerate prevention of HIV infections and HIV-related deaths. We estimated the number of infections and deaths that could be prevented by optimizing HIV investments. We optimize across HIV programs, then across service delivery modalities for voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC), HIV testing, and antiretroviral refill, as well as switching to a lower cost antiretroviral regimen. FINDINGS:Under an optimized budget, prioritising HIV testing for the general population followed by key preventative interventions may result in approximately 1,000 more new infections (2% more) being averted by 2023. More infections could be averted with further optimization between service delivery modalities across the HIV cascade. Scaling-up index and self-testing could lead to 100,000 more people getting tested for HIV (25% more tests) with the same budget. By prioritizing Fast-Track, community-based, and facility-based antiretroviral refill options, an estimated 30,000 more people could receive treatment, 17% more than baseline or US$5.5 million could be saved, 4% of the total budget. Finally, switching non-pregnant HIV-positive adults to a Dolutegravir-based antiretroviral therapy regimen and concentrating delivery of VMMC to existing fixed facilities over mobile clinics, US$4.5 million (7% of total budget) and US$6.6 million (10% of total budget) could be saved, respectively. SIGNIFICANCE:With a relatively short five-year timeframe, even under a substantially increased and optimized budget, Eswatini is unlikely to reach their ambitious national prevention target by 2023. However, by optimizing investment of the same budget towards highly cost-effective VMMC, testing, and treatment modalities, further reductions in HIV incidence and cost savings could be realized.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:The prevalence of undiagnosed HIV is declining in Africa, and various HIV testing approaches are finding lower positivity rates. In this context, the epidemiological impact and cost-effectiveness of community-based HIV self-testing (CB-HIVST) is unclear. We aimed to assess this in different sub-populations and across scenarios characterized by different adult HIV prevalence and antiretroviral treatment programmes in sub-Saharan Africa. METHODS:The synthesis model was used to address this aim. Three sub-populations were considered for CB-HIVST: (i) women having transactional sex (WTS); (ii) young people (15 to 24 years); and (iii) adult men (25 to 49 years). We assumed uptake of CB-HIVST similar to that reported in epidemiological studies (base case), or assumed people use CB-HIVST only if exposed to risk (condomless sex) since last HIV test. We also considered a five-year time-limited CB-HIVST programme. Cost-effectiveness was defined by an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER; cost-per-disability-adjusted life-year (DALY) averted) below US$500 over a time horizon of 50 years. The efficiency of targeted CB-HIVST was evaluated using the number of additional tests per infection or death averted. RESULTS:In the base case, targeting adult men with CB-HIVST offered the greatest impact, averting 1500 HIV infections and 520 deaths per year in the context of a simulated country with nine million adults, and impact could be enhanced by linkage to voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC). However, the approach was only cost-effective if the programme was limited to five years or the undiagnosed prevalence was above 3%. CB-HIVST to WTS was the most cost-effective. The main drivers of cost-effectiveness were the cost of CB-HIVST and the prevalence of undiagnosed HIV. All other CB-HIVST scenarios had an ICER above US$500 per DALY averted. CONCLUSIONS:CB-HIVST showed an important epidemiological impact. To maximize population health within a fixed budget, CB-HIVST needs to be targeted on the basis of the prevalence of undiagnosed HIV, sub-population and the overall costs of delivering this testing modality. Linkage to VMMC enhances its cost-effectiveness.
Project description:There is evidence to suggest that antiretroviral therapy (ART) and testing for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) reduce the probability of transmission of HIV. This has led health officials across the United States to take steps toward a test-and-treat policy. However, the extent of the benefits generated by test-and-treat is debatable, and there are concerns, such as increased multidrug resistance (MDR), that remain unaddressed.We developed a deterministic epidemiologic model to simulate the HIV/AIDS epidemic for men who have sex with men (MSM) in Los Angeles County (LAC). We calibrated the model to match the HIV surveillance data from LAC across a 10-year period, starting in 2000. We then modified our model to simulate the test-and-treat policy and compared epidemiologic outcomes under the test-and-treat scenario to the status quo scenario over the years 2012-2023. Outcome measures included new infections, deaths, new AIDS cases, and MDR.Relative to the status quo, the test-and-treat model resulted in a 34% reduction in new infections, 19% reduction in deaths, and 39% reduction in new AIDS cases by 2023. However, these results are counterbalanced by a near doubling of the prevalence of MDR (9.06% compared to 4.79%) in 2023. We also found that the effects of increasing testing and treatment were not complementary.Although test-and-treat generates substantial benefits, it will not eliminate the epidemic for MSM in LAC. Moreover, these benefits are counterbalanced by large increases in MDR.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The rapid scale-up of antiretroviral therapy (ART) towards the UNAIDS 90-90-90 goals over the last decade has sparked considerable debate as to whether universal test and treat can end the HIV-1 epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa. We aimed to develop a network transmission model, calibrated to capture age-specific and sex-specific gaps in the scale-up of ART, to estimate the historical and future effect of attaining and surpassing the UNAIDS 90-90-90 treatment targets on HIV-1 incidence and mortality, and to assess whether these interventions will be enough to achieve epidemic control (incidence of 1 infection per 1000 person-years) by 2030. METHODS:We used eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) as a case study to develop our model. We used data on HIV prevalence by 5-year age bins, sex, and year from the 2007 Swaziland Demographic Health Survey (SDHS), the 2011 Swaziland HIV Incidence Measurement Survey, and the 2016 Swaziland Population Health Impact Assessment (PHIA) survey. We estimated the point prevalence of ART coverage among all HIV-infected individuals by age, sex, and year. Age-specific data on the prevalence of male circumcision from the SDHS and PHIA surveys were used as model inputs for traditional male circumcision and scale-up of voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC). We calibrated our model using publicly available data on demographics; HIV prevalence by 5-year age bins, sex, and year; and ART coverage by age, sex, and year. We modelled the effects of five scenarios (historical scale-up of ART and VMMC [status quo], no ART or VMMC, no ART, age-targeted 90-90-90, and 100% ART initiation) to quantify the contribution of ART scale-up to declines in HIV incidence and mortality in individuals aged 15-49 by 2016, 2030, and 2050. FINDINGS:Between 2010 and 2016, status-quo ART scale-up among adults (aged 15-49 years) in eSwatini (from 34·0% in 2010 to 74·1% in 2016) reduced HIV incidence by 43·57% (95% credible interval 39·71 to 46·36) and HIV mortality by 56·17% (54·06 to 58·92) among individuals aged 15-49 years, with larger reductions in incidence among men and mortality among women. Holding 2016 ART coverage levels by age and sex into the future, by 2030 adult HIV incidence would fall to 1·09 (0·87 to 1·29) per 100 person-years, 1·42 (1·13 to 1·71) per 100 person-years among women and 0·79 (0·63 to 0·94) per 100 person-years among men. Achieving the 90-90-90 targets evenly by age and sex would further reduce incidence beyond status-quo ART, primarily among individuals aged 15-24 years (an additional 17·37% [7·33 to 26·12] reduction between 2016 and 2030), with only modest additional incidence reductions in adults aged 35-49 years (1·99% [-5·09 to 7·74]). Achieving 100% ART initiation among all people living with HIV within an average of 6 months from infection-an upper bound of plausible treatment effect-would reduce adult HIV incidence to 0·73 infections (0·55 to 0·92) per 100 person-years by 2030 and 0·46 (0·33 to 0·59) per 100 person-years by 2050. INTERPRETATION:Scale-up of ART over the last decade has already contributed to substantial reductions in HIV-1 incidence and mortality in eSwatini. Focused ART targeting would further reduce incidence, especially in younger individuals, but even the most aggressive treatment campaigns would be insufficient to end the epidemic in high-burden settings without a renewed focus on expanding preventive measures. FUNDING:Global Good Fund and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Project description:In adults living with HIV, pharmacy refill data are good predictors of virologic failure (VF). The utility of pharmacy refill data for predicting VF in adolescents has not been reported. We evaluated data from 291 adolescents on antiretroviral therapy. The main outcome measure was VF, defined as two consecutive HIV viral load measurements???400 copies/mL during 24-months of follow-up. Pharmacy refill non-adherence was defined as two consecutive refill adherence measurements?<?95% during the same period. Fifty-three (18%) adolescents experienced VF. One hundred twenty-eight (44%) adolescents had refill non-adherence. Refill non-adherence had poor discriminative ability for indicating VF (receiver operating characteristic AUC?=?0.60). Sensitivity and specificity for predicting VF was poor (60% (95% CI 46-74%) and 60% (95% CI 53-66%), respectively). The lack of a viable surrogate for VF in adolescents highlights the urgent need for more access to virologic testing and novel methods of monitoring adolescent treatment adherence.
Project description:The minimum package of voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) services, as defined by the World Health Organization, includes human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing, HIV prevention counseling, screening/treatment for sexually transmitted infections, condom promotion, and the VMMC procedure. The current study aimed to assess whether adolescents received these key elements.Quantitative surveys were conducted among male adolescents aged 10-19 years (n = 1293) seeking VMMC in South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. We used a summative index score of 8 self-reported binary items to measure receipt of important elements of the World Health Organization-recommended HIV minimum package and the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief VMMC recommendations. Counseling sessions were observed for a subset of adolescents (n = 44). To evaluate factors associated with counseling content, we used Poisson regression models with generalized estimating equations and robust variance estimation.Although counseling included VMMC benefits, little attention was paid to risks, including how to identify complications, what to do if they arise, and why avoiding sex and masturbation could prevent complications. Overall, older adolescents (aged 15-19 years) reported receiving more items in the recommended minimum package than younger adolescents (aged 10-14 years; adjusted ?, 0.17; 95% confidence interval [CI], .12-.21; P < .001). Older adolescents were also more likely to report receiving HIV test education and promotion (42.7% vs 29.5%; adjusted prevalence ratio [aPR], 1.53; 95% CI, 1.16-2.02) and a condom demonstration with condoms to take home (16.8% vs 4.4%; aPR, 2.44; 95% CI, 1.30-4.58). No significant age differences appeared in reports of explanations of VMMC risks and benefits or uptake of HIV testing. These self-reported findings were confirmed during counseling observations.Moving toward age-equitable HIV prevention services during adolescent VMMC likely requires standardizing counseling content, as there are significant age differences in HIV prevention content received by adolescents.
Project description:BACKGROUND:In 2007, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended scaling up voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) in priority countries with high HIV prevalence and low male circumcision (MC) prevalence. According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), an estimated 5.8 million males had undergone VMMC by the end of 2013. Implementation experience has raised questions about the need to refocus VMMC programs on specific subpopulations for the greatest epidemiological impact and programmatic effectiveness. As Malawi prepared its national operational plan for VMMC, it sought to examine the impacts of focusing on specific subpopulations by age and region. METHODS:We used the Decision Makers' Program Planning Toolkit, Version 2.0, to study the impact of scaling up VMMC to different target populations of Malawi. National MC prevalence by age group from the 2010 Demographic and Health Survey was scaled according to the MC prevalence for each district and then halved, to adjust for over-reporting of circumcision. In-country stakeholders advised a VMMC unit cost of $100, based on implementation experience. We derived a cost of $451 per patient-year for antiretroviral therapy from costs collected as part of a strategic planning exercise previously conducted in- country by UNAIDS. RESULTS:Over a fifteen-year period, circumcising males ages 10-29 would avert 75% of HIV infections, and circumcising males ages 10-34 would avert 88% of infections, compared to the current strategy of circumcising males ages 15-49. The Ministry of Health's South West and South East health zones had the lowest cost per HIV infection averted. Moreover, VMMC met WHO's definition of cost-effectiveness (that is, the cost per disability-adjusted life-year [DALY] saved was less than three times the per capita gross domestic product) in all health zones except Central East. Comparing urban versus rural areas in the country, we found that circumcising men in urban areas would be both cost-effective and cost-saving, with a VMMC cost per DALY saved of $120 USD and with 15 years of VMMC implementation resulting in lifetime HIV treatment costs savings of $331 million USD. CONCLUSIONS:Based on the age analyses and programmatic experience, Malawi's VMMC operational plan focuses on males ages 10-34 in all districts in the South East and South West zones, as well as Lilongwe (an urban district in the Central zone). This plan covers 14 of the 28 districts in the country.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Heterosexual infections have contributed to a high proportion of the HIV burden in Asia and Eastern Europe. Human mobility and non-local infections are important features in some cities/countries. An understanding of the determinants of the sustained growth of the heterosexual HIV epidemics would enable the potential impacts of treatment-based interventions to be assessed. METHODS:We developed a compartmental model for heterosexual HIV transmissions, parameterized by clinical and surveillance data (1984-2014) in Hong Kong. HIV sequence data were included for examining genetic linkages and clustering pattern. We performed sensitivity analyses to evaluate effects of high-risk sexual partnership and proportions of non-locally acquired infections. Four hypothetical interventions (a) immediate treatment, (b) enhancement of retention in care, (c) HIV testing campaigns, and (d) test-and-treat strategy, were examined. RESULTS:Data of 2174 patients (723 female and 1451 male) diagnosed with HIV between 1984 and 2012 in Hong Kong were collected for model parameterization. Among 1229 sequences of non-MSM (men who have sex with men) patients, 70% were isolates and 17% were either dyads or triads. In base-case scenario, the total estimated number of new infections in 2012-2023 would be 672 for male and 452 for female. Following 100% retention in care intervention, the total proportion of averted new infections in 2012-2023 would be 7% for male and 10% for female. HIV testing campaign in 2012 and 2017 followed by 100% immediate treatment strategy would avert 5% and 9% of male and female new infections, respectively. In the epidemic model, an increase of high-risk sexual partnership from 6% to 9% would increase the epidemic growth (annual number of newly diagnosed and newly infected cases) by about 10%. If no non-locally acquired infection occurred as from 2012, the epidemic growth would slump. To control the heterosexual epidemic, periodic HIV testing at 5-year intervals with immediate treatment would avert 5-13% of annual new infections in 2013-2023. CONCLUSIONS:Enhanced HIV testing with immediate treatment is most effective in controlling the heterosexual epidemic, the impacts of which might however be attenuated by any increase of non-locally acquired infection, assuming little variations of high risk partnership over time.
Project description:Empirical studies and population-level policy simulations show the importance of voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) in generalized epidemics. This paper complements available scenario-based studies (projecting costs and outcomes over some policy period, typically spanning decades) by adopting an incremental approach-analyzing the expected consequences of circumcising one male individual with specific characteristics in a specific year. This approach yields more precise estimates of VMMC's cost-effectiveness and identifies the outcomes of current investments in VMMC (e.g., within a fiscal budget period) rather than of investments spread over the entire policy period.The model has three components. We adapted the ASSA2008 model, a demographic and epidemiological model of the HIV epidemic in South Africa, to analyze the impact of one VMMC on HIV incidence over time and across the population. A costing module tracked the costs of VMMC and the resulting financial savings owing to reduced HIV incidence over time. Then, we used several financial indicators to assess the cost-effectiveness of and financial return on investments in VMMC. One circumcision of a young man up to age 20 prevents on average over 0.2 HIV infections, but this effect declines steeply with age, e.g., to 0.08 by age 30. Net financial savings from one VMMC at age 20 are estimated at US$617 at a discount rate of 5% and are lower for circumcisions both at younger ages (because the savings occur later and are discounted more) and at older ages (because male circumcision becomes less effective). Investments in male circumcision carry a financial rate of return of up to 14.5% (for circumcisions at age 20). The cost of a male circumcision is refinanced fastest, after 13 y, for circumcisions at ages 20 to 25. Principal limitations of the analysis arise from the long time (decades) over which the effects of VMMC unfold-the results are therefore sensitive to the discount rate applied, and more generally to the future course of the epidemic and of HIV/AIDS-related policies pursued by the government.VMMC in South Africa is highly effective in reducing both HIV incidence and the financial costs of the HIV response. The return on investment is highest if males are circumcised between ages 20 and 25, but this return on investment declines steeply with age.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Zimbabwe adopted voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) as a priority HIV prevention strategy in 2007 and began implementation in 2009. We evaluated the costs and impact of this VMMC program to date and in future. METHODS:Three mathematical models describing Zimbabwe's HIV epidemic and program evolution were calibrated to household survey data on prevalence and risk behaviors, with circumcision coverage calibrated to program-reported VMMCs. We compared trends in new infections and costs to a counterfactual without VMMC. Input assumptions were agreed in workshops with national stakeholders in 2015 and 2017. RESULTS:The VMMC program averted 2,600-12,200 infections (among men and women combined) by the end of 2016. This impact will grow as circumcised men are protected lifelong, and onward dynamic transmission effects, which protect women via reduced incidence and prevalence in their male partners, increase over time. If other prevention interventions remain at 2016 coverages, the VMMCs already performed will avert 24,400-69,800 infections (2.3-5% of all new infections) through 2030. If coverage targets are achieved by 2021 and maintained, the program will avert 108,000-171,000 infections (10-13% of all new infections) by 2030, costing $2,100-3,250 per infection averted relative to no VMMC. Annual savings from averted treatment needs will outweigh VMMC maintenance costs once coverage targets are reached. If Zimbabwe also achieves ambitious UNAIDS targets for scaling up treatment and prevention efforts, VMMC will reduce the HIV incidence remaining at 2030 by one-third, critically contributing to the UNAIDS goal of 90% incidence reduction. CONCLUSIONS:VMMC can substantially impact Zimbabwe's HIV epidemic in the coming years; this investment will save costs in the longer term.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) significantly reduces HIV transmission. We conducted a cost-effectiveness analysis of the impact of expanded ART in South Africa. METHODS:We model a best case scenario of 90% annual HIV testing coverage in adults 15-49 years old and four ART eligibility scenarios: CD4 count <200 cells/mm(3) (current practice), CD4 count <350, CD4 count <500, all CD4 levels. 2011-2050 outcomes include deaths, disability adjusted life years (DALYs), HIV infections, cost, and cost per DALY averted. Service and ART costs reflect South African data and international generic prices. ART reduces transmission by 92%. We conducted sensitivity analyses. RESULTS:Expanding ART to CD4 count <350 cells/mm(3) prevents an estimated 265,000 (17%) and 1.3 million (15%) new HIV infections over 5 and 40 years, respectively. Cumulative deaths decline 15%, from 12.5 to 10.6 million; DALYs by 14% from 109 to 93 million over 40 years. Costs drop $504 million over 5 years and $3.9 billion over 40 years with breakeven by 2013. Compared with the current scenario, expanding to <500 prevents an additional 585,000 and 3 million new HIV infections over 5 and 40 years, respectively. Expanding to all CD4 levels decreases HIV infections by 3.3 million (45%) and costs by $10 billion over 40 years, with breakeven by 2023. By 2050, using higher ART and monitoring costs, all CD4 levels saves $0.6 billion versus current; other ART scenarios cost $9-194 per DALY averted. If ART reduces transmission by 99%, savings from all CD4 levels reach $17.5 billion. Sensitivity analyses suggest that poor retention and predominant acute phase transmission reduce DALYs averted by 26% and savings by 7%. CONCLUSION:Increasing the provision of ART to <350 cells/mm3 may significantly reduce costs while reducing the HIV burden. Feasibility including HIV testing and ART uptake, retention, and adherence should be evaluated.