HIV treatment in Latvia not cost-effective, says Health association

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According to Dace Plato, a representative of the Veselības ekonomists (Health economist) periodical, HIV treatment in Latvia is not cost-effective as early treatment can save up to 43% of the projected expenses for a single HIV patient.

The Veselības ekonomists periodical is released by the Latvian Health Economy Association (LVEA). 

The association refers to the START research by the United Nations HIV/AIDS program, showing that per one dollar invested into early treatment, 17 are made back as spending on HIV-related diseases is reduced in the future.

The research concludes that early treatment is very important in order to counter the spread of HIV.

Research by the US National Institutes of health shows that starting antiretroviral therapy right after diagnosing HIV can prevent the spread of the virus that happens while the number of the CD4 immunity cells has shrank to 350 per one mm3 of blood, when therapy is usually started. The risk of HIV progressing into AIDS or other serious conditions, decreases by 53% if treatment is started when the CD4 number is 500.

Anda Ķīvīte of the Health and Epidemiology cathedra of the Rīga Stradiņš University stated that Latvia is the only country in Europe where, despite expert suggestions and UNAIDS research conclusions, treatment of HIV patients with antiretroviral drugs is started while the CD4 cell level is 200 per one mm3 of blood. 

"That's why in Latvia the treatment of the virus is not cost-effective, and the treatment costs for HIV keep growing, while the virus keeps spreading much more quickly than in other countries," said Ķīvīte.

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