Economic benefits of the United States’ AIDS drug assistance program: A systematic review of cost analyses to guide research and policy priorities


As part of the Ryan White HIV/AIDs Program, the federally-funded, state-administered AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) provides prescription drug medications, including antiretroviral therapy, for people with HIV (PWH) who are uninsured/underinsured and have a low income. ADAP expenditures are ∼$2.4 billion annually, but there is a dearth of formal economic analysis supporting the societal perspective. We conducted a systematic review of economic analyses of the United States’ AIDS Drug Assistance Program to establish future research priorities based on gaps in knowledge. We searched six electronic databases for articles published before January 2022 that met inclusion criteria. We used the 2022 Consolidated Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards to assess the quality of reporting of the economic evaluations. We extracted data into categories to assess gaps and needs for future economic evaluation. Seven studies met inclusion criteria. Two used the same modeling approaches but were published with slightly different outcomes. The few economic analyses that focused solely on ADAP were conducted using 2008 or older data. The most recent study modeled the net cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) secondary to reducing new HIV cases among those virally suppressed, but did not include the economic or health benefits for PWH. ADAP programs’ delivery of antiretroviral therapy has shifted from primarily direct provision to subsidizing insurance plans. None of the models take these shifts into account. Updated person-centered cost effectiveness models assessing ADAP are needed on a national and state-by-state level to guide policy decisions and coverage determinations.


McManus KA, Strumpf A, Killelea A, Horn T, Hamp A, Keim-Malpass J




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Determinants of Health
  • Determinants of Health
    • Income
  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Prevention, Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Engagement and Care Cascade
  • Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Treatment
  • Health Systems
    • Financial arrangements


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