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The cost-effectiveness of preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV in low- and middle-income countries: systematic review

DOI: 10.1186/1478-7547-9-3

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Abstract:

Candidate studies were identified through a comprehensive database search including PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, and EconLit restricted by language (English or French), date (January 1st, 1994 to January 17th, 2011) and article type (original research). Articles reporting full economic evaluations of interventions to prevent or reduce HIV MTCT were eligible for inclusion. We searched article bibliographies to identify additional studies. Two authors independently assessed eligibility and extracted data from studies retained for review. Study quality was appraised using a modified BMJ checklist for economic evaluations. Data were synthesised in narrative form.We identified 19 articles published in 9 journals from 1996 to 2010, 16 concerning sub-Saharan Africa. Collectively, the articles suggest that interventions to prevent paediatric infections are cost-effective in a variety of LMIC settings as measured against accepted international benchmarks. In concentrated epidemics where HIV prevalence in the general population is very low, MTCT strategies based on universal testing of pregnant women may not compare well against cost-effectiveness benchmarks, or may satisfy formal criteria for cost-effectiveness but offer a low relative value as compared to competing interventions to improve population health.Interventions to prevent HIV MTCT are compelling on economic grounds in many resource-limited settings and should remain at the forefront of global HIV prevention efforts. Future cost-effectiveness analyses can help to ensure that pMTCT interventions for LMICs reach their full potential by focussing on unanswered questions in four areas: local assessment of rapidly evolving HIV MTCT options; strategies to improve coverage and reach underserved populations; evaluation of a more comprehensive set of MTCT approaches including primary HIV prevention and reproductive counselling; integration of HIV MTCT and other sexual and reproductive health services.Due to the availab

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