Background: HIV prevention programmes for truck drivers form part of the HIV control efforts, but systematic data on the outputs and cost of providing such services in India are not readily available for further planning and use of resources.
Methods: Detailed cost and output data were collected from written records and interviews for 2005-2006 fiscal year using standardized methods at six sampled HIV prevention programmes for truck drivers in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The total economic cost for these programmes was computed and the relation of unit cost of services per truck driver with programme scale was assessed using regression analysis.
Results: A total of 120,436 truck drivers were provided services by the six programmes of which 55.9% were long distance truck drivers. The annual economic cost of providing services to a truck driver varied between programmes from US$ 1.52 to 4.56 (mean US$ 2.49). There was an inverse relation between unit economic cost of serving a truck driver and scale of the programme (R2 = 0.63; p = 0.061). The variation between programmes in the average number of contacts made by the programme staff with truck drivers was 1.3 times versus 5.8 times for contacts by peer educators. Only 1.7% of the truck drivers were referred by the programmes for counseling and HIV testing.
Conclusion: These data provide information for further planning of HIV prevention programmes for truck drivers and estimating the resources needed for such programmes. The findings suggest the need to strengthen the role of peer educators and increase referral of truck drivers for HIV testing.