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HPTN071 (PopART) – Reducing HIV Transmission through Combination Prevention: The Economic Evaluation

The HPTN 071 (PopART) study is the worldwide largest HIV prevention trial and examines the impact of a package of HIV prevention interventions on community-level HIV incidence. The prevention interventions included universal voluntary HIV counselling and testing provided at household level, linkage of HIV infected individuals to care and early initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) for all those testing HIV-positive. The study was conducted in 21 communities in the Western Cape of South Africa, and in Zambia. The study is led by a large team of researchers from Universities and research institutions in the UK, South Africa, Zambia, and the United States. The interventions have been concluded, and the data are currently being analysed and findings will be published in 2019. Katharina Hauck and a team of health economists from the MRC Centre are conducting the economic evaluation of PopART. Their aim is to assess whether the initial cost of the prevention strategy will pay off in the long run, by reducing future treatment costs and most importantly, by preventing unnecessary human suffering.

Tune in and listen to the podcast

In this podcast, Katharina Hauck, Reader in Health Economics at the MRC Centre, answers questions about the economic evaluation of HPTN 071 (PopART), the academic and practical challenges that the economists face, and the potential policy impacts of the results. Listen to the podcast here. 

The Economic Analysis of PopART

Katharina Hauck and her team are assessing whether the relatively high initial cost of the HPTN 071 (PopART) interventions will be offset in the future by significant savings in treatment costs because of reductions in the numbers of new HIV patients needing anti-retroviral therapy. The team will also study how HPTN 071 (PopART) impacts on quality of life and work productivity of patients, how it affects the families and informal carers of HIV positive individuals, and health care services and the wider community.

The greatest academic challenge for the economics team is to project costs and benefits far into the future. The economics team is working closely with the epidemiologists of the trial, to integrate the economic analysis into mathematical models of how the disease spreads in the study communities. 

The results of the HPTN 071 (PopART) and its economic evaluation are eagerly awaited by policy makers in governments and donor agencies all-over the world, and by the international HIV/AIDS research community.

Project Team and Funders

The economics team at the MRC Centre is part of a multi-national research consortium carrying out the trial, led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, in collaboration with the following institutions:

Within the two study countries, the design and delivery of the intervention was carried out in close partnership with the Ministries of Health, local implementing agencies and U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). HPTN 071 (PopART) is sponsored by the National Insitute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) and funded by PEPFAR, the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the NIAID, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).