Purpose of review: To review the general literature on microeconomic modeling and key points that must be considered in the general assessment of economic modeling reports, discuss the evolution of HIV economic models and identify models that illustrate this development over time, as well as examples of current studies. Recommend improvements in HIV economic modeling.
Recent findings: Recent economic modeling studies of HIV include examinations of scaling up antiretroviral (ARV) in South Africa, screening prior to use of abacavir, preexposure prophylaxis, early start of ARV in developing countries and cost–effectiveness comparisons of specific ARV drugs using data from clinical trials. These studies all used extensively published second-generation Markov models in their analyses. There have been attempts to simplify approaches to cost–effectiveness estimates by using simple decision trees or cost–effectiveness calculations with short-time horizons. However, these approaches leave out important cumulative economic effects that will not appear early in a treatment. Many economic modeling studies were identified in the ‘gray’ literature, but limited descriptions precluded an assessment of their adherence to modeling guidelines, and thus to the validity of their findings.
Summary: There is a need for developing third-generation models to accommodate new knowledge about adherence, adverse effects, and viral resistance.