The advent of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), including protease inhibitors and/or non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, for the treatment of HIV infection has led to a dramatic decline of morbidity and mortality. The acquisition costs of HAART are substantial. However, these costs are partially offset by reduced inpatient care for opportunistic infections and other AIDS-related diseases. Furthermore, job productivity in patients infected with HIV is increased under HAART. In developed countries with a low unemployment rate, the discounted value of savings caused by increased productivity in earlier years exceeds the discounted value of later increases in costs resulting from morbidity. Therefore, HAART represents a very efficient treatment strategy that leads to overall cost savings when taking a societal perspective.