The cost-effectiveness of needle-exchange and other HIV prevention
programs will be studied at Stanford and several other research
centers, funded by a 5-year grant from the National Institute
on Drug Abuse.
Margaret Brandeau and Douglas Owens, the Stanford researchers
involved, previously modeled aspects of the epidemic's spread
to address policy issues related to HIV prevention programs for
the state of California. Brandeau is an associate professor in
the Department of Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management,
while Owens is a research associate at the Palo Alto Veterans
Affairs Health Care System and an assistant professor in the Department
of Medicine at Stanford.
Previously, the two found that offering HIV screening tests to
all women of childbearing age would lower overall medical costs.
To reach this conclusion, they began by refining a turn-of-the
century mathematical model of how malaria spreads through a population,
refining it to capture characteristics of HIV disease, its treatment,
and the behaviors that lead to its spread. In another study, they
found that the risk to doctors and nurses from treating HIV-infected
patients was comparable in magnitude to the risk they face from
treating people with hepatitis B infection.
"The bottom line" of the new research project, Brandeau
said, "is to figure out how society can gain the most from
its HIV prevention dollars."
Other principal researchers in the project are professors Edward
Kaplan and David Paltiel of Yale and James Kahn of the University
of California-San Francisco. They will work cooperatively under
the direction of the Societal Institute of the Mathematical Sciences
in New Haven, Conn. The grant totals $3.4 million; Stanford's
award will be about $880,000.
More information about the prevention program can be found on
the World Wide Web at http://soe.stanford.edu/ieem/faculty/brandeua/abstract.html.