To estimate the cost effectiveness of universal screening for HIV of pregnant women in Amsterdam.
Pharmaco-economic model calculation.
An estimate was made of the minimal and maximal prevalences of undiagnosed HIV infection during pregnancy for the whole of Amsterdam, based on epidemiological data from observation among pregnant women in two Amsterdam hospitals and one obstetrical practice. The calculation was based on universal screening with an ELISA test. The interventions after screening comprised pharmacotherapy during pregnancy, delivery by caesarean section and breast-milk substitution. The issues of pharmaco-economic analysis were whether or not costs were reduced and net costs per year of life gained; the question was also studied at what lifetime costs of care for HIV infected children the net costs would be nil (costs equal benefits).
Universal HIV screening in Amsterdam required a total investment of about Dfl 300,000.- per annum. In many of the analysed options for HIV screening the financial profits exceeded the investment. Variation of assumptions showed that the net costs of HIV screening under all conditions investigated would remain below Dfl 1,200.- per life year gained.
Universal HIV screening of pregnant women in Amsterdam showed a favourable cost effectiveness. The calculations indicated a possibility of reducing costs.