OBJECTIVE: We evaluated the cost-effectiveness of fee-based and free testing strategies at an HIV voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) program integrated into a community-based AIDS service organization in Moshi, Tanzania. METHODS: We waived the usual fee schedule during a 2-week free, advertised VCT campaign; analyzed the number of clients testing per day during prefree, free, and postfree testing periods; and estimated the cost-effectiveness of limited and sustained free testing strategies. RESULTS: The number of clients testing per day increased from 4.1 during the prefree testing interval to 15.0 during the free testing campaign (P<.0001) and remained significantly increased at 7.1 (P<.0001) after resumption of the standard fees. HIV seroprevalence (16.7%) and risk behaviors were unchanged over these intervals. Modeled over 1 year, the costs per infection averted with the standard fee schedule, with a 2-week free VCT campaign, and with sustained free VCT year-round were $170, $105, and $92, respectively, and the costs per disability-adjusted life year gained were $8.72, $5.40, and $4.72, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The provision of free VCT enhances both the number of clients testing per day and its cost-effectiveness in resource-limited settings.
AIDS Serodiagnosis • Adolescent • Adult • Aged • Aged, 80 and over • Anti-Retroviral Agents • Community Health Services • Cost-Benefit Analysis • Female • HIV Infections • HIV Seroprevalence • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice • Humans • Male • Middle Aged • Patient Education as Topic • Quality-Adjusted Life Years • Risk-Taking • Sexual Behavior • Tanzania • diagnosis* • economics • economics* • therapeutic use • therapy