U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently cited ongoing research by Stephen Resch, deputy director of the Center for Health Decision Science at Harvard School of Public Health, in a November 8, 2011 speech at the National Institutes of Health calling for increased investment in fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Resch’s research suggests the costs are well worth the benefits.
Resch was lead author of a study that appeared online October 5, 2011 in the journal PLoS One. In the study, Resch and his colleagues calculated that treating 3.5 million HIV/AIDS patients in low- and middle-income countries with antiretroviral therapy through 2020 will cost $14.2 billion, but that this investment could be expected to save 18.5 million life-years and return $12 billion to $34 billion through increased labor productivity and decreased costs of caring for orphans, the sick, and the dying.
In her speech, Clinton said, “A study published just last month weighed the costs and benefits and found that—I quote—‘the economic benefits of treatment will substantially offset, and likely exceed, program costs within 10 years of investment.’ In other words, treating people will not only save lives, it will generate considerable economic returns as well.”