The Cost-Effectiveness of Expanding Harm Reduction Activities for Injecting Drug Users in Odessa, Ukraine

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The objectives of this study were to estimate the cost-effectiveness of a harm reduction intervention among injecting drug users (IDUs) in Odessa, Ukraine; and to explore how the cost-effectiveness changes if the intervention were scaled up to 60% as recommended by WHO/UNAIDS.

Study Design:

Economic providers’ costs were estimated. A dynamic mathematical model, fitted to epidemiologic data, projected the intervention’s impact. The cost per HIV infection averted for different intervention coverages was estimated.


From September 1999 to August 2000, at the current coverage of between 20% to 38% and an injection drug user (IDU) HIV prevalence of 54%, projections suggest 792 HIV infections were averted, a 22% decrease in IDU HIV incidence, but a 1% increase in IDU HIV prevalence. Cost per HIV infection averted was $97. Scaling up the intervention to reach 60% of IDUs remains cost-effective and reduces HIV prevalence by 4% over 5 years.


At the current coverage, the harm reduction intervention in Odessa is cost-effective but is unlikely to reduce IDU HIV prevalence in the short-term. To reduce HIV prevalence, more resources are needed to increase coverage.

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