Roughly 28 million new HIV infections could be averted over the next 10 years with stronger prevention measures, according to a new report by international AIDS experts. The authors say the prevention programs would cost more money, but not as much as treating the newly infected.
In a report published in the February 2 issue of the journal Science, AIDS experts estimate more than 60 million people will become infected with HIV by 2015, with the prevention programs that are in place today. More effective prevention programs could cut that number to about 32 million.
According to the report, donor countries could actually save by putting more money into prevention programs.
Peter Ghys, head of epidemic monitoring at UNAIDS who was the study's senior author, explains.
"It is actually saving somewhat by investing into prevention versus not doing that investing in prevention and having to pay later on for the treatment cost of that person," he said.
Ghys and colleagues calculate that $800 in treatment and care could be saved for each $3,900 spent on prevention.
Ghys notes that about one-third of the money for HIV prevention and care programs comes from the treasuries of developing countries.
"You know, looking at the poorest countries they don't have room in their own national budgets to take this on by themselves," he added.
For this reason, Ghys says wealthier nations should help pay the cost of stronger prevention programs now or face higher treatment bills in 2015.