Cost-Effectiveness of serum cryptococcal antigen screening to prevent deaths among HIV-Infected Persons with a CD4+ Cell Count ≤100 Cells/μL Who Start HIV therapy in resource-limited settings

David B. Meya, Yukari C. Manabe, Barbara Castelnuovo, Bethany A. Cook, Ali M. Elbireer, Andrew Kambugu, Moses R. Kamya, Paul R. Bohjanen, David R. Boulware

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background. Cryptococcal meningitis (CM) remains a common AIDS-defining illness in Africa and Asia. Subclinical cryptococcal antigenemia is frequently unmasked with antiretroviral therapy (ART).We sought to define the cost-effectiveness of serum cryptococcal antigen (CRAG) screening to identify persons with subclinical cryptococcosis and the efficacy of preemptive fluconazole therapy. Methods. There were 609 ART-naive adults with AIDS who started ART in Kampala, Uganda, and who had a serum CRAG prospectively measured during 2004-2006. The number needed to test and treat with a positive CRAG was assessed for ≥30-month outcomes. Results. In the overall cohort, 50 persons (8.2%) were serum CRAG positive when starting ART. Of 295 people with a CD4 + cell count ≤100 cells/mL and without prior CM, 26 (8.8%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 5.8%- 12.6%) were CRAG positive, of whom 21 were promptly treated with fluconazole (200-400 mg) for 2-4 weeks. Clinical CM developed in 3 fluconazole-treated persons, and 30-month survival was 71% (95% CI, 48%-89%). In the 5 CRAG-positive persons with a CD4+ cell count ≤100 cells/mL treated with ART but not fluconazole, all died within 2 months of ART initiation. The number needed to test and treat with CRAG screening and fluconazole to prevent 1 CM case is 11.3 (95% CI, 7.9-17.1) at costs of $190 (95% CI, $132-$287). The number needed to test and treat to save 1 life is 15.9 (95% CI, 11.1-24.0) at costs of $266 (95% CI, $185-$402). The cost per disability-adjusted life year saved is $21 (95% CI, $15-$32). Conclusions. Integrating CRAG screening into HIV care, specifically targeting people with severe immunosuppression (CD4+ cell count ≤100 cells/mL) should be implemented in treatment programs in resource-limited settings. ART alone is insufficient treatment for CRAG-positive persons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)448-455
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Volume51
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 15 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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