Use and cost of hospital and community service provision for children with HIV infection at an English HIV referral centre

Pharmacoeconomics. 2000 Jan;17(1):53-69. doi: 10.2165/00019053-200017010-00004.


Objective: To describe the use of hospital and community services for children infected with HIV and estimate the cost per patient-year by stage of HIV infection during the era of antiretroviral monotherapy.

Design: Data on the use of hospital services were collected from case notes; the use of statutory and nonstatutory community services was recorded through diaries and interviews. Total cost estimates were calculated from unit costs from relevant hospital departments and community organisations.

Setting: Children managed at St. Mary's Hospital (London, England) between 1 January 1986 and 31 December 1994, some of whom used statutory and nonstatutory community services in South East England between 1 November 1994 and 31 May 1996.

Patients and participants: 118 children with positive HIV antibody status.

Main outcome measures and results: Mean inpatient days, outpatient visits, tests and procedures performed, drugs prescribed, community services used, associated unit costs and average cost estimates per patient-year by stage of HIV infection (1995/1996 values), and lifetime costs. Service provision during the study period was predominantly hospital-based. The use of services increased for different stages of HIV infection and increased with increasing severity of HIV infection. A shift from an inpatient-based to an outpatient-based service was seen between the periods 1986 to 1991 and 1992 to 1994. As symptoms evolved, children used more hospital inpatient services, with an accompanying shift in the use of community services from general services, such as schooling, to increased use of nurses, social care and home help. The estimated total cost of hospital and community care was 18,600 Pounds per symptomatic non-AIDS patient per year and 46,600 Pounds per AIDS patient per year. Similar estimates for children with indeterminate HIV infection and asymptomatic infection amounted to 8300 Pounds and 4800 Pounds per patient-year, respectively. Nondiscounted lifetime costs for hospital care amounted to 152,400 Pounds (44,300 Pounds to 266,800 Pounds) compared with discounted lifetime costs of 122,700 Pounds (42,000 Pounds to 182,200 Pounds); nondiscounted lifetime costs for community care amounted to 24,300 Pounds (7900 Pounds to 41,600 Pounds) compared with discounted lifetime costs of 21,000 Pounds (6800 Pounds to 32,000 Pounds).

Conclusions: The continued emphasis on the use of hospital services may be due to the small number of children infected with HIV, most of whom lived in the London metropolitan area where specialist care was concentrated in a few centres. A shift from an inpatient- to an outpatient-based service was observed over time; the advent of the use of combination antiretroviral therapy in this population may further facilitate a shift in service provision and promote shared care between specialist centres, local hospital and community-based services.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-HIV Agents / economics
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Viral / isolation & purification
  • Child, Preschool
  • Community Health Services / economics*
  • Community Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Drug Costs / statistics & numerical data
  • England
  • Female
  • HIV / immunology
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections / economics*
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Status
  • Hospitalization / economics*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Referral and Consultation / economics
  • Registries


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Antibodies, Viral