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The cost of antiretroviral treatment service for patients with HIV/AIDS in a central outpatient clinic in Vietnam

Authors Nguyen L, Tran B, Tran C, Le H, Tran S

Received 4 November 2013

Accepted for publication 16 January 2014

Published 21 February 2014 Volume 2014:6 Pages 101—108


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Long Thanh Nguyen,1 Bach Xuan Tran,2 Cuong Tuan Tran,1 Huong Thi Le,1 Son Van Tran1

1Authority of HIV/AIDS Control, Ministry of Health, Hanoi, Vietnam; 2Institute for Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Hanoi Medical University, Hanoi, Vietnam

Introduction: Antiretroviral treatment (ART) services are estimated to account for 30% of the total resources needed for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) control and prevention in Vietnam during the 2011–2020 timeframe. With international funding decreasing, determining the total cost of HIV/AIDS treatment is necessary in order to develop a master plan for the transition of ART services delivery and management. We analyzed the costs of HIV/AIDS treatment paid by both HIV programs and patients in a central outpatient clinic, and we explored factors associated with the capacity of patients to pay for this service.
Methods: Patients (n=315) receiving ART in the Department of Infectious Diseases at Bach Mai Hospital, Hanoi, Vietnam, were interviewed. Patient records and expenses were reviewed.
Results: The total cost of ART per patient was US$611 (75% from health care providers, 25% from patients or their families). The cost of a second-line regimen was found to be 2.7 times higher than the first-line regimen cost. Most outpatients (73.3%) were able to completely pay for all of their ART expenses. Capacity to pay for ART was influenced by five factors, including marital status, distance from house to clinic, patient's monthly income, household economic condition, and health insurance status. Most of the patients (84.8%) would have been willing to pay for health insurance if a copayment scheme for ART were to be introduced.
Conclusion: This study provides evidence on payment capacity of HIV/AIDS patients in Vietnam and supplies information on ART costs from both provider and patient perspectives. In particular, results from this study suggest that earlier access to ART after HIV infection could dramatically reduce the overall cost of treatment.

Keywords: health care cost, human immunodeficiency virus infection, developing countries, opportunity cost, antiretroviral therapy

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