Human immunodeficiency virus counseling, testing, referral, and partner notification services. A cost-benefit analysis

Arch Intern Med. 1993 May 24;153(10):1225-30.


Background: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta, Ga) annually provides more than +100 million in funding to states, territories, and cities for the provision of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) counseling, testing, referral, and partner notification (CTRPN) services. Given the size of this expenditure, it is important to consider the net benefits of this program activity. We compared the economic costs and benefits of publicly funded HIV CTRPN services.

Methods: Standard methods for cost-benefit analysis were used. A societal perspective was employed. Major assumptions used in the base-case analysis included the following: (1) without public funding, the HIV CTRPN services would not be provided; (2) for every 100 HIV-seropositive persons identified and reached by CTRPN services, at least 20 new HIV infections are averted; and (3) for every +100 spent on direct and indirect costs of CTRPN services, approximately another +60 is spent on the ancillary costs of alerting people to HIV issues and CTRPN service availability. Sensitivity analyses were performed to explore the robustness of base-case results to these and other changes in model assumptions.

Results: Under base-case assumptions, the combined direct, indirect, and ancillary costs of the CTRPN program in 1990 dollars were +188,217,600. At a 6% discount rate, the estimated economic benefits of this expenditure are +3,781,918,000. The resultant benefit-cost ratio is 20.09. Sensitivity analyses showed that the benefit-cost ratio is greater than 1 for all considered cases.

Conclusions: This cost-benefit analysis strongly suggests that publicly funded CTRPN services result in a net economic gain to society.

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Serodiagnosis / economics*
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / economics*
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / prevention & control
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S.*
  • Contact Tracing / economics*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Counseling / economics*
  • Financing, Government
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Expenditures / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Referral and Consultation / economics*
  • United States