Cite this article

NIDA. (2012, October 9). On-site HIV testing increases life expectancy in substance abusers and is cost effective. Retrieved from

press ctrl+c to copy

Science Spotlight

October 09, 2012

An NIH-funded study shows that on-site rapid HIV testing has the potential to increases life expectancy for substance abuse treatment patients newly diagnosed with HIV in a cost effective way. Using modeling, this study estimated that life expectancy would be increased from 17.1 years (no on-site test) to 20.8 years (on-site testing with information on the testing procedure). The cost-effectiveness of providing onsite rapid HIV testing was calculated using a model that took into account patient information (CD4 cell counts, viral burden, anti-retroviral therapy regimen, presence of an acute AIDS-defining illness, etc.), costs for medical treatment, and quality-adjusted life year (QALY) – a measure of both the length and  quality of life that accounts for the burden of illness.

HIV Rapid Testing in Substance Abuse Treatment Programs

The study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the National Institute of Mental Health. For a copy of the study abstract, go to For best practices in implementing on-site rapid HIV testing, go to the NIDA Blending product, HIV Rapid Testing in Substance Abuse Treatment Programs.

For more information, contact the NIDA press office at or 301-443-6245.