Cost-effectiveness of HIV screening in emergency departments: a systematic review

Ari Mwachofi, Nada A. Fadul, Ciarra Dortche, Casey Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In 2016 worldwide, 1.8 million people were newly infected with HIV. About 36.7 million had HIV but 14 million were unaware, did not seek treatment and were likely to infect others. Undiagnosed HIV infection is a major contributor to transmission. Therefore, screening is critical to prevention. Although CDC recommends routine screening in the emergency department (ED), implementation is not universal or sustained. Cost-effectiveness of ED-based screening could enhance implementation. We address the question: Is HIV screening in the ED cost-effective? Using the Joanna Briggs Institute guidelines, we conducted a systematic review of economic evaluations of ED-based HIV screening. We found 311 studies with 12 duplicates. We excluded 276 studies that did not conduct economic evaluations and another three for lack of quantitative data, leaving 20 articles for the full review. We reviewed cost-effectiveness ratios (CER), incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICER), and average costs per diagnosis, quality-adjusted life years, averted transmissions and per patient linked to care. CER and ICER were below CDC thresholds indicating that HIV screening in the ED is cost-effective. Therefore, ED-based HIV screening should be widely implemented, supported and sustained as a cost-effective tool for combating HIV/AIDS.


  • HIV screening
  • cost-effectiveness
  • emergency department

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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