An HIV treatment regimen already widely used in North America and Europe would likely increase the life expectancy of people living with HIV in India by nearly three years and reduce the number of new HIV infections by 23 percent with minimal impact on the country’s HIV/AIDS budget. The findings from an international team of investigators have been published online in the Journal of the International AIDS Society.

“This study is the first to show that, in India, changing current therapy to a dolutegravir-based regimen would be safer, save lives and prevent new infections — all without increasing the cost of care,” said lead author Amy Zheng of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Medical Practice Evaluation Center in Boston.

Dolutegravir, developed by the HIV specialist company ViiV Healthcare, has been shown to have fewer side effects and be less likely to induce drug resistance than other currently available HIV drugs. It is currently recommended in North America and Europe as initial therapy for newly infected patients and is available in multiple African countries. A generic version has only recently become available in India.

The researchers used a widely-published mathematical model to project the survival and economic outcomes of adopting a dolutegravir-based regimen as first-line therapy by the Indian health system. Based on cost estimates from the Clinton Health Access Initiative, the analysis assumed the annual cost of the new drug would be $102 U.S. per patient, which is slightly higher than the $98 annual cost of current therapy in India. The team assessed the impact of a dolutegravir-based regimen on life expectancy, the number of new HIV transmissions, HIV care costs and the national Indian HIV budget over 2- and 5-year time horizons.

Read more at PubMed