Purpose of review: There are at least seven million people eligible for antiretroviral treatment but not receiving it. An additional 19 million people will need to start treatment in the future, as their HIV disease progresses. Funding for Universal Access to HIV treatment has been restricted by the Global Financial Crisis.
Recent findings: There are three large randomized trials ongoing, designed to establish the efficacy of lower than approved doses of antiretrovirals. If successful, the results of these trials could lower costs of antiretrovirals and improve the safety profiles. Clinical trials evaluating efavirenz, atazanavir, ritonavir and stavudine are discussed. The costs of these and other antiretrovirals are presented.
Summary: The results of these trials could significantly lower the costs of Universal Access. Assuming 15 million people on antiretroviral treatment, the reduction in unit costs of tenofovir (TDF)/3TC/efavirenz from dose optimization of efavirenz to 400 mg once daily would save US$16 per person, leading to an overall saving of US$192 million per year. The switch from zidovudine (ZDV)/3TC/atazanavir (ATV)/r 300/100 once daily to dolutegravir along with ATV/r 200/50 once daily would save US$167 per person, leading to an overall saving of US$501 million. The combined saving in costs from first- and second-line treatment would therefore be US$693 million per year.