, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 45-55

Cost-Effectiveness of an HIV Prevention Intervention for Mentally Ill Adults

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Abstract

Adults with severe mental illness are at high risk for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and transmission. Small-group interventions that focus on sexual communication, condom use skills, and motivation to practice safer sex have been shown to be effective at helping mentally ill persons reduce their risk for HIV. However, the cost-effectiveness of these interventions has not been established. We evaluated the cost-effectiveness of a 9-session small-group intervention for women with mental illness recruited from community mental health clinics in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We used standard techniques of cost–utility analysis to determine the cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) saved by the intervention. This analysis indicated that the intervention cost $679 per person, and over $136,000 per QALY saved. When the analysis was restricted to the subset of women who reported having engaged in vaginal or anal intercourse in the 3 months prior to the baseline assessment, the cost per QALY saved dropped to approximately $71,000. These estimates suggest that this intervention is marginally cost-effective in comparison with other health promotion interventions, especially if high-risk, sexual-active women are preferentially recruited.