Economic evaluation of HIV testing options for low-prevalence high-income countries: A systematic review


INTRODUCTION: This study reviewed the economic evidence of rapid HIV testing versus conventional HIV testing in low-prevalence high-income countries; evaluated the methodological quality of existing economic evaluations of HIV testing studies; and made recommendations on future economic evaluation directions of HIV testing approaches. METHODS: A systematic search of selected databases for relevant English language studies published between Jan 1, 2001, and Jan 30, 2019, was conducted. The methodological design quality was assessed using the Consolidated Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards (CHEERS) and the Drummond tool. We reported the systematic review according to the PRISMA guidelines. RESULTS: Five economic evaluations met the eligibility criteria but varied in comparators, evaluation type, perspective, and design. The methodologic quality of the included studies ranged from medium to high. We found evidence to support the cost-effectiveness of rapid HIV testing approaches in low-prevalence high-income countries. Rapid HIV testing was associated with cost per adjusted life year (QALY), ranging from $42,768 to $90,498. Additionally, regardless of HIV prevalence, rapid HIV testing approaches were the most cost-effective option. CONCLUSIONS: There is evidence for the cost-effectiveness of rapid HIV testing, including the use of saliva-based testing compared to usual care or hospital-based serum testing. Further studies are needed to draw evidence on the relative cost-effectiveness of the distinct options and contexts of rapid HIV testing.


Medu O, Lawal A, Coyle D, Pottie K




  • Population(s)
    • General HIV- population
  • Testing
    • Testing
  • Health Systems
    • Financial arrangements


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