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PLoS One. 2010 Nov 9;5(11):e13856. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0013856.

Cost-effectiveness of primary prophylaxis of AIDS associated cryptococcosis in Cambodia.

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Unité d'Epidémiologie des Maladies Emergentes, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.



Cryptococcal infection is a frequent cause of mortality in Cambodian HIV-infected patients with CD4+ count ≤100 cells/µl. This study assessed the cost-effectiveness of three strategies for cryptococcosis prevention in HIV-infected patients.


A MARKOV DECISION TREE WAS USED TO COMPARE THE FOLLOWING STRATEGIES AT THE TIME OF HIV DIAGNOSIS: no intervention, one time systematic serum cryptococcal antigen (CRAG) screening and treatment of positive patients, and systematic primary prophylaxis with fluconazole. The trajectory of a hypothetical cohort of HIV-infected patients with CD4+ count ≤100 cells/µl initiating care was simulated over a 1-year period (cotrimoxazole initiation at enrollment; antiretroviral therapy within 3 months). Natural history and cost data (US$ 2009) were from Cambodia. Efficacy data were from international literature.


In a population in which 81% of patients had a CD4+ count ≤50 cells/ µl and 19% a CD4+ count between 51-100 cells/µl, the proportion alive 1 year after enrollment was 61% (cost $ 472) with no intervention, 70% (cost $ 483) with screening, and 72% (cost $ 492) with prophylaxis. After one year of follow-up, the cost-effectiveness of screening vs. no intervention was US$ 180/life year gained (LYG). The cost-effectiveness of prophylaxis vs. screening was $ 511/LYG. The cost-effectiveness of prophylaxis vs. screening was estimated at $1538/LYG if the proportion of patients with CD4+ count ≤50 cells/µl decreased by 75%.


In a high endemic area of cryptococcosis and HIV infection, serum CRAG screening and prophylaxis are two cost effective strategies to prevent AIDS associated cryptococcosis in patients with CD4+ count ≤100 cells/µl, at a short-term horizon, screening being more cost-effective but less effective than prophylaxis. Systematic primary prophylaxis may be preferred in patients with CD4+ below 50 cells/µl while systematic serum CRAG screening for early targeted treatment may be preferred in patients with CD4+ between 51-100 cells/µl.

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