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Cost-effectiveness of frequent HIV screening among high-risk young men who have sex with men in the United States.

  • Author(s): Neilan, Anne M
  • Bulteel, Alexander JB
  • Hosek, Sybil G
  • Foote, Julia HA
  • Freedberg, Kenneth A
  • Landovitz, Raphael J
  • Walensky, Rochelle P
  • Resch, Stephen C
  • Kazemian, Pooyan
  • Paltiel, A David
  • Weinstein, Milton C
  • Wilson, Craig M
  • Ciaranello, Andrea L
  • et al.


Of new HIV infections in the US, 20% occur among young men who have sex with men (YMSM, ages 13-24), but >50% of YMSM with HIV are unaware of their status. Using Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions (ATN) data, we projected the clinical benefit and cost-effectiveness of frequent HIV screening among high-risk YMSM from age 15.


Using a mathematical simulation, we examined 3 screening strategies: Yearly, 6-monthly, and 3-monthly, each in addition to the Status quo (SQ, 0.7-10.3% screened/year, stratified by age). We used published data (YMSM-specific when available) including: HIV incidences (0.91-6.41/100PY); screen acceptance (80%), linkage-to-care/antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation (76%), HIV transmission (0.3-86.1/100PY, by HIV RNA), monthly ART costs ($2,290-$3,780), and HIV per-screen costs ($38). Projected outcomes included CD4 count at diagnosis, primary HIV transmissions from ages 15-30, quality-adjusted life expectancy, costs, and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs, $/quality-adjusted life-year saved [QALY]; threshold ≤$100,000/QALY).


Compared to SQ, all strategies increased projected CD4 at diagnosis (296 to 477-515 cells/µL) and quality-adjusted life expectancy from age 15 (44.4 to 48.3-48.7 years) among YMSM acquiring HIV. Compared to SQ, all strategies increased discounted lifetime cost for the entire population ($170,800 to $178,100-$185,000/person). Screening 3-monthly was cost-effective (ICER: $4,500/QALY) compared to SQ and reduced primary transmissions through age 30 by 40%. Results were most sensitive to transmission rates; excluding the impact of transmissions, screening Yearly was ≤$100,000/QALY (ICER: $70,900/QALY).


For high-risk YMSM in the US, HIV screening 3-monthly compared to less frequent screening will improve clinical outcomes and be cost-effective.

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