Economic Outcomes of HIV/AIDS Treatment in South Africa

Project Description

By 2012, some 7.5 million people in sub-Saharan Africa were receiving antiretroviral therapy for HIV/AIDS. A large body of literature confirms the success of AIDS treatment programs in reducing viral loads and restoring the immune systems of adult patients in sub-Saharan Africa. Alongside these studies of biomedical outcomes of treatment is a small body of literature investigating the impacts of ART on patients’ economic activities, quality of life, and other non-biomedical outcomes. These studies have consistently reported rapid and relatively large improvements in quality of life and/or work attendance during the first 1-2 years on ART among adult patients in Africa, but few have followed patients for more than two years.

In 2005, the CGHD and its South African counterpart, the Health Economics and Epidemiology Research Office (HE2RO), began enrolling more than a thousand adult ART and pre-ART patients in a prospective cohort aimed at evaluating the social and economic outcomes of treatment in South Africa. Patients in the study were interviewed during routine clinic visits through 2011. Findings indicated sustained improvements in symptom prevalence, ability to perform normal activities, and employment over five years after ART initiation. These improvements in economic and quality of life outcomes are likely to support long-term adherence and to mitigate some of the negative economic and social consequences of untreated HIV/AIDS in high-prevalence countries.

This project was one activity of the CGHD’s Economics and Epidemiology of HIV/AIDS Care and Treatment (South Africa Associate Award).

Project Details

Principal Investigator Sydney Rosen
Boston University Co-Investigators Bruce Larson, Alana Brennan, Julia Rohr
Collaborators
Country(ies) South Africa
Dates of Research 2004–2013
Donor/Funder USAID_logo_square_150United States Agency for International Health (USAID)