ART significantly improves patients’ economic well-being

March 4, 2014

ART programs prove to have tremendous health outcomes. However, effects on other variables, such as economic performance or well-being, have been little measured on a great scale and long time period. This study confirms our statement that putting people on treatment is not only an investment in health, but is also an economically-sound investment.

As antiretroviral therapy programs have greatly expanded in South-Africa in the past decade, evidence on 'nonbiomedical' outcomes become visible. This study shows what the positive long term effects on economic activity and quality of life are.

It was conducted among people that had not yet, or very recently, started their ARV treatment. Several variables indicating their economic well-being had been measured prior or at the start of treatment, and after being on ART for 5 years. Some key results are:

  • The probability of being unable to perform normal activities in the previous week diminished from 47% in the 3 months prior to initiation [of ART] to just 5% by the end of 5 years. 
  • The probability of being currently employed increased from 32% within the first month on ART to 44% after 5 years.
  • Among patients who were employed at the time of the interview, difficulty with job performance decreased from 56% during the 3 months prior to ART to 6% after 5 years.
  • A large proportion of patients reported having a caretaker in the 3 months prior to ART. This dropped from 81% to less than 1% after being 2.5 years on ART.

Source: Effect of antiretroviral therapy on patients' economic wellbeing: five-year follow-up, Sydney Rosen,Bruce Larson, Julia Rohr, Ian Sanne, Constance MOngwenyana, Alana T. Brennan,Omar Galárraga (January 2014) 


This news item has been published in the STOP AIDS NOW! E-news “Income for Prevention” (March 2014)