State variation in HIV/AIDS health outcomes: the effect of spending on social services and public health

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Abstract

Objective:

Despite considerable advances in the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, the burden of new infections of HIV and AIDS varies substantially across the country. Previous studies have demonstrated associations between increased healthcare spending and better HIV/AIDS outcomes; however, less is known about the association between spending on social services and public health spending and HIV/AIDS outcomes. We sought to examine the association between state-level spending on social services and public health and HIV/AIDS case rates and AIDS deaths across the United States.

Design:

We conducted a retrospective, longitudinal study of the 50 U.S. states over 2000–2009 using a dataset of HIV/AIDS case rates and AIDS deaths per 100 000 people matched with a unique dataset of state-level spending on social services and public health per person in poverty.

Methods:

We estimated multivariable regression models for each HIV/AIDS outcome as a function of the social service and public health spending 1 and 5 years earlier in the state, adjusted for the log of state GDP per capita, regional and time fixed effects, Medicaid spending as % of GDP, and socio-demographic, economic, and health resource factors.

Results:

States with higher spending on social services and public health per person in poverty had significantly lower HIV and AIDS case rates and fewer AIDS deaths, both 1 and 5 years post expenditure (P ≤ 0.05).

Conclusion:

Our findings suggest that spending on social services and public health may provide a leverage point for state policymakers to reduce HIV/AIDS case rates and AIDS deaths in their state.

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