Benefits and Costs of Expanding Access to Family Planning to Women with HIV

Heidi Reynolds of MEASURE Evaluation contributed to an analysis that models the potential benefits and costs of adding family planning to national strategies for achieving universal access to programs to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission.

Heidi Reynolds of MEASURE Evaluation contributed to Benefits and costs of expanding access to family planning programs to women living with HIV that models the potential benefits and costs of adding family planning to national strategies for achieving universal access to programs to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission.

Programs to prevent perinatal HIV transmission would, if accessed by all women in need with the most efficacious antiretroviral regimen available, prevent over 240,000 infant HIV infections in the top 14 countries at an estimated cost of over $131 million. However, almost 72,000 infant HIV infections would still occur in the 14 countries that could have been averted by preventing unintended pregnancies at a cost of only about $26 million. If all unintended births (whether or not resulting in HIV-infected children) to HIV-positive women were prevented with family planning, the cost per birth averted would be $61 in the 14 countries.

This analysis suggests that national strategies should adopt a comprehensive approach to preventing mother-to-child transmission and thus focus on preventing perinatal HIV transmission as well as unintended pregnancies. Family planning is cost-effective for preventing HIV transmission and unintended pregnancies and will also reduce infant and maternal mortality and result in fewer orphans.

Halperin DT, Stover J, Reynolds HW. (2010) Benefits and costs of expanding access to family planning programs to women living with HIV AIDS 23: S123-S130; doi: 10.1097/01.aids.0000363785.73450.5a