HIV screening in pregnant women: A systematic review of cost-effectiveness studies


INTRODUCTION: Vertical transmission represents the major route of HIV infection for children. However, the preventive interventions available are extremely effective. This review summarizes evidence regarding the cost-effectiveness of mother-to-child-transmission preventive screenings, to help policy makers in choosing the optimal antenatal screening strategy. METHODS: A systematic review following PRISMA guidelines was conducted, using 3 databases: PubMed, Scopus, and Cost-Effectiveness Analysis Registry. All articles regarding HIV screening to avoid vertical transmission were included. RESULTS: The review included 21 papers. Seven studies assessed the cost-effectiveness of universal antenatal screening during early gestation. Two papers considered the integration of HIV screening with other medical interventions. Eight works estimated the cost-effectiveness of HIV screening in late pregnancy. Finally, 4 papers considered the combination of multiple strategies. The selected papers focused on both developed and developing countries, with a different HIV prevalence. The characteristics and methodology of the studies were heterogeneous. However, all studies agreed about the main findings, outlining the cost-effectiveness of both universal antenatal screening and HIV rescreening in late pregnancy. Cost-effectiveness improved when HIV burden increased. The major findings were proved to be robust across various scenarios when tested in sensitivity analysis. CONCLUSIONS: The review confirmed the cost-effectiveness not only of HIV universal antenatal screening but also of rescreening in late gestation in both developed and developing countries. Universal screening is cost-effective even in case of extremely low HIV prevalence. Therefore, to maximize screening, coverage appears as a worldwide priority. In certain settings, a targeted screening towards high-risk groups could be a valuable option


Bert F, Gualano MR, Biancone P, Brescia V, Camussi E, Martorana M, Thomas R, Secinaro S, Siliquini R




  • Population(s)
    • Women
  • Testing
    • Testing
  • Health Systems
    • Financial arrangements
    • Delivery arrangements


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