Researchers at the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics published a series of papers in the March edition of Health Affairs focusing on HIV/AIDS treatment and the impact of the Affordable Care Act on those living with the disease. The researchers found that early treatment for the disease was important in preventing transmission and extending life expectancy and that full implementation of the ACA would greatly expand HIV screenings leading to more successful diagnoses.
Dana P. Goldman, Leonard D. Schaeffer Chair and director of the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, along with co-authors, examined the effect of combination antiretroviral treatment on HIV transmission and prevention. Their research found that early-stage treatment prevented 188,700 new cases and saved $128 billion in life expectancy costs.
Meanwhile, John A. Romley of the USC Schaeffer Center and co-authors found that early treatment of HIV can add years to life expectancy. Those who began treatment when their CD4 white blood cell counts were above 500 gained an average of 9.1 years, compared to 6.1 for those who initiated treatment when their counts were between 350 and 500. They estimate the value of survival gains at $80 billion between 1996 and 2009. Both studies used $150,000 as the value of a life-year.
Researcher Zachary Wagner and colleagues examined the impact of the ACA on the fight against HIV/AIDS. It is good news for the Obama administration as the researchers found that by 2017, an additional 466,153 people will be screened for the disease, reducing the population of those living with the disease but unaware by 22 percent.