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Lifetime Costs of new HIV cases will top $4B in Canada, report says
  CBC News

Posted: Nov 24, 2011 4:36 PM ET

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The Economic Cost of HIV/AIDS in Canada

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HIV infections diagnosed in Canada this year will cost more than $4 billion over the patients' lifetimes, the Canadian AIDS Society estimates.

That's 22 per cent higher than previously estimated, the society says in a report released Thursday at the start of Canadian HIV/AIDS Awareness Week.

The report focuses on the costs of treatment as well as lost productivity and work hours for people who were infected in 2009, when there were 3,070 new HIV cases. It also estimates HIV's toll on the quality of life in general, citing research indicating people with HIV are often affected by anxiety and depression and may enjoy life less even if they don't have symptoms.

The last time researchers estimated the direct and indirect costs of HIV was 2001.

"Since 2001, increased survival rates have reduced productivity losses per person and increased the cost of health care per person with HIV/AIDS," says the new report, written by JoAnn Kingston-Riechers of the Institute of Health Economics and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Alberta.

The estimated lifetime costs for an individual infected in 2009 would break down this way, according to the research:

· $380,000 for the impact on quality of life.

· $250,000 for health care.

· $670,000 for lost productivity.

"The bottom line? HIV/AIDS is costing Canadians $1.3 million per each new diagnosis of HIV," the AIDS group said in a news release.

Although the annual number of new HIV cases and the longterm costs are "alarming," the figures have improved substantially since the mid-1980s, when there were about 6,000 new infections a year, said Al McNutt, the chair of the AIDS society's board.

"The challenge follows in reaching those people who are at risk of HIV infection," McNutt said.

The organization called for a greater investment in prevention campaigns. It also announced a national campaign called "Do Something" to get the message out about stopping the spread of HIV, which is a preventable disease.


press release

Nov. 24, 2011, 7:46 a.m. EST

Canadian AIDS Society: Cost of HIV is $1.3 Million per Person Infected

OTTAWA, ONTARIO, Nov 24, 2011 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- The Canadian AIDS Society has released a report today that indicates that the economic impact of 3,070 new HIV infections in 2009 has a lifetime cost of $4,031,500,000, approximately 22% higher than previously estimated.

November 24th marks the beginning of Canadian HIV/AIDS Awareness Week and the release of this report - The Economic Cost of HIV/AIDS in Canada, written by JoAnn Kingston-Riechers, PhD, from the Institute of Health Economics and the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of Alberta - should serve as a sobering reminder of the impact of approximately 3,070 new HIV infections in Canada each year. The report focusses on the costs of treatment and the costs associated with loss of productivity for lost work hours throughout the lifetime of those recently infected individuals (as of 2009).

"We know that this is about more than just numbers," said Monique Doolittle-Romas, Executive Director of the Canadian AIDS Society. "Living with HIV has an impact on an individual's quality of life. We see this as an opportunity to address the needs of people living with HIV in Canada."

The dollar value of that impact on quality of life has been estimated at $380,000 per person, and when added to health care costs ($250,000/person), and labour productivity ($670,000/person) we arrive at a very sobering number. In 2009, when there were an estimated 3,070 new infections, the total cost hit just over $4 billion. The bottom line? HIV/AIDS is costing Canadians $1.3 million per each new diagnosis of HIV. But it's not about money - the primary concern is for the affected lives.

Al McNutt, volunteer Chair of the Board of Directors reminds us: "HIV is entirely preventable; and even with such alarming figures, we have seen successes in prevention in Canada - our rates of HIV have dropped from over 6,000 per year in the mid-eighties to an estimated 3,070 new cases in 2009."

"That is the good news," McNutt explains. The challenge follows in reaching those people who are at risk of HIV infection. "We need culturally appropriate interventions to stop the spread of HIV," advises McNutt. This is why funding to fight HIV/AIDS is needed now more than ever. Infections can be prevented with further investment in prevention campaigns.

This year for World AIDS Day and AIDS Awareness Week, the Canadian AIDS Society has launched, with the support of the federal government and Abbott Laboratories, a national campaign with the theme of "Do Something!" Through social media, a Youtube competition and print poster the message is being spread. The message is simple - we can all do something about the spread of HIV in Canada. And the economic case for action has never been clearer.

"Helping prevent the spread of HIV - we'll save more than money, we'll change the life of a friend, colleague or member of our community," reminds Doolittle-Romas, "Isn't it time that we all Do Something?"

"When we see the human and financial costs of HIV/AIDS, it becomes even more apparent that we all need to increase our efforts to prevent and treat this destructive disease," said Russell Williams, President of Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D). "We are proud to support the Canadian AIDS Society study as it does invaluable work in raising awareness and supports people living with HIV in Canada."

The report is available online at . Print copies are also available upon request. The Canadian AIDS Society gratefully acknowledges Rx&D: Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies for their support and funding for the development and production of this paper.

Canadian AIDS Society

The Canadian AIDS Society is a national coalition of over 120 community-based AIDS organizations from across Canada. Dedicated to strengthening the response to HIV/AIDS across all sectors of society, we also work to enrich the lives of people and communities living with HIV/AIDS. We accomplish this by advocating on behalf of people and communities affected by HIV/AIDS, facilitating the development of programs, services and resources for our member groups, and providing a national framework for community-based participation in Canada's response to AIDS.

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