Cost-utility of HIV Testing Programs Among Men Who Have Sex with Men in the United States

Rose Zulliger, Cathy Maulsby, Liza Solomon, Chanza Baytop, Alex Orr, Muazzam Nasrullah, Luke Shouse, Elizabeth DiNenno, David Holtgrave

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Few groups in the United States (US) are as heavily affected by HIV as men who have sex with men (MSM), yet many MSM remain unaware of their infection. HIV diagnosis is important for decreasing onward transmission and promoting effective treatment for HIV, but the cost-effectiveness of testing programs is not well-established. This study reports on the costs and cost-utility of the MSM Testing Initiative (MTI) to newly diagnose HIV among MSM and link them to medical care. Cost and testing data in 15 US cities from January 2013 to March 2014 were prospectively collected and combined to determine the cost-utility of MTI in each city in terms of the cost per Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALY) saved from payer and societal perspectives. The total venue-based HIV testing costs ranged from $18,759 to $564,284 for nine to fifteen months of MTI implementation. The cost-saving threshold for HIV testing of MSM was $20,645 per new HIV diagnosis. Overall, 27,475 men were tested through venue-based MTI, of whom 807 (3 %) were newly diagnosed with HIV. These new diagnoses were associated with approximately 47 averted HIV infections. The cost per QALY saved by implementation of MTI in each city was negative, indicating that MTI venue-based testing was cost-saving in all cities. The cost-utility of social network and couples testing strategies was, however, dependent on whether the programs newly diagnosed MSM. The cost per new HIV diagnosis varied considerably across cities and was influenced by both the local cost of MSM testing implementation and by the seropositivity rate of those reached by the HIV testing program. While the cost-saving threshold for HIV testing is highly achievable, testing programs must successfully reach undiagnosed HIV-positive individuals in order to be cost-effective. This underscores the need for HIV testing programs which target and engage populations such as MSM who are most likely to have undiagnosed HIV to maximize programmatic benefit and cost-utility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)619-625
Number of pages7
JournalAIDS and behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Cost utility
  • Economic evaluation
  • HIV testing
  • Men who have sex with men

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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