Proposed reductions in U.S. foreign aid would have a devastating impact on HIV treatment and prevention programs in countries receiving such aid, an international team of investigators reports.

In their paper published online in Annals of Internal Medicine, the team led by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the Yale School of Public Health describes how a 33 percent cutback in funds earmarked for HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and research in recent budget proposals would only save $900 per year of life lost in the countries of South Africa and Côte d’Ivoire.

“This study is the first to document the health and economic returns of a reduced global investment in HIV prevention and care,” said lead author Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., of the MGH Division of Infectious Disease. “Over the past decade and a half, we’ve spent considerable money to save lives in these and other African nations. Would the relatively small savings realized by currently proposed budget reductions be worth these large humanitarian costs?”

more