Cost of HIV Treatment Rising
Increasing cost of treatment may hinder effort to end epidemic
A new study reports a 34% increase in the cost of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the United States since 2012, far outpacing the rate of inflation.
Published in JAMA Internal Medicine, the study shows that the average annual cost of recommended ART combinations ranged from about $25,000 to $35,000 in 2012. By 2018, the cost had increased to between $36,000 and $48,000—even with new generic options.
“High ART costs are among many structural barriers that lead to poor treatment access and adherence.”
“High ART costs are among many structural barriers that lead to poor treatment access and adherence,” the authors report. “Slowing the trend of rapidly increasing ART costs is essential to expand and sustain access to effective individualized care and treatment.”
Used for HIV prevention and treatment, ART is a major part of efforts to end the epidemic. The federal government’s “Ending the HIV Epidemic” initiative calls for a 90% decrease in new infections by 2030. According to the authors, to achieve that goal, the U.S. must increase viral suppression by 33%—requiring a total of more than $35 billion annually on ART.
The study looks only at overall costs, not out-of-pocket costs after insurance and other rebates. The authors note that costs absorbed directly by patients may affect their engagement in care and adherence to medications like ART.