The Financial Benefits of Staying HIV-Free

Preventing HIV could save more than $250,000 over lifetime

You may have heard of the old adage, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." When it comes to HIV, it turns out that prevention may be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Preventing HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) in an individual may add up to $250,000 over that person's lifetime, according to a new study.

Avoiding the virus that causes AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) saved between $229,000 and $338,000 per person, reports Reuters. These results are updates to cost-saving estimates published in 2006 and were published in the journal Medical Care and presented Tuesday at a conference.

HIV is a chronic condition that can require treatment for life.

"There are a lot of cost savings by avoiding HIV infections that weren't included," said lead study author Bruce Schackman, PhD, a professor of psychiatry and public health at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, in an interview with Reuters.

Those excluded savings included lost productivity and work ability due to illness.

This report may help health leaders, such as researchers and federal and state policymakers, make decisions about HIV protection initiatives, Reuters reports.

HIV is primarily transferred through sexual contact. Patients can reduce their risk of HIV infection by practicing safe sex and not sharing needles.