HIV treatment produces economic returns through increased work and education, and warrants continued US support

Health Aff (Millwood). 2012 Jul;31(7):1470-7. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2012.0217.


Federal expenditures are under scrutiny in the United States, and the merits of continuing and expanding the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to support access to antiretroviral therapy have become a topic of debate. A growing body of research on the economic benefits of treatment with antiretroviral therapy has important implications for these discussions. For example, research conducted since the inception of PEPFAR shows that HIV-infected adults who receive antiretroviral therapy often begin or resume productive work, and that children living in households with infected adults who are on treatment are more likely to attend school than those in households with untreated adults. These benefits should be considered when weighing the overall benefits of providing antiretroviral therapy against its costs, particularly in the context of discussions about the future of PEPFAR. A modest case can also be made in favor of having private companies in HIV-affected countries provide antiretroviral therapy to their employees and dependents, thus sharing some of the burden of funding HIV treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Africa South of the Sahara
  • Anti-HIV Agents / economics
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Education*
  • Employment* / economics
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections / economics
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • HIV Infections / therapy*
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Terminal Care / economics
  • United States


  • Anti-HIV Agents