Objective: To determine whether Vancouver's Insite supervised injection facility and syringe exchange programs are cost-saving--that is, are the savings due to averted HIV-related medical care costs sufficient to offset Insite's operating costs?
Methods: The analyses examined the impact of Insite's programs for a single year. Mathematical models were used to calculate the number of additional HIV infections that would be expected if Insite were closed. The life-time HIV-related medical costs associated with these additional infections were compared to the annual operating costs of the Insite facility.
Results: If Insite were closed, the annual number of incident HIV infections among Vancouver IDU would be expected to increase from 179.3 to 262.8. These 83.5 preventable infections are associated with $17.6 million (Canadian) in life-time HIV-related medical care costs, greatly exceeding Insite's operating costs, which are approximately $3 million per year.
Conclusions: Insite's safe injection facility and syringe exchange program substantially reduce the incidence of HIV infection within Vancouver's IDU community. The associated savings in averted HIV-related medical care costs are more than sufficient to offset Insite's operating costs.