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Optimizing HIV/AIDS resources in Armenia: increasing ART investment and examining HIV programmes for seasonal migrant labourers.

Kelly SL, Shattock AJ, Kerr CC, Stuart RM, Papoyan A, Grigoryan T, Hovhannisyan R, Grigoryan S, Benedikt C, Wilson DP

  • Journal Journal of the International AIDS Society

  • Published 07 Jun 2016

  • Volume 19

  • ISSUE 1

  • Pagination 20772

  • DOI 10.7448/IAS.19.1.20772


HIV prevalence is declining in key populations in Armenia including in people who inject drugs (PWID), men who have sex with men, prison inmates, and female sex workers (FSWs); however, prevalence is increasing among Armenians who seasonally migrate to work in countries with higher HIV prevalence, primarily to the Russian Federation.

We conducted a modelling study using the Optima model to assess the optimal resource allocation to meet targets from the 2013 to 2016 national strategic plan to minimize HIV incidence and AIDS-related deaths by 2020. Demographic, epidemiological, behavioural, and programme cost data from 2000 through 2014 were used to inform the model. The levels of coverage that could be attained among targeted populations with different investments, as well as their expected outcomes, were determined. In the absence of evidence of the efficacy of HIV programmes targeted at seasonal labour migrants, we conducted a sensitivity analysis to determine the cost-effective funding threshold for the seasonal labour migrant programme.

The optimization analysis revealed that shifts in funding allocations could further minimize incidence and deaths by 2020 within the available resource envelope. The largest emphasis should be on antiretroviral therapy (ART), with the optimal investment to increase treatment coverage by 40%. Optimal investments also involve increases in opiate substitution therapy and FSW programmes, as well as maintenance of other prevention programmes for PWID and prevention of mother-to-child transmission. Additional funding for these increases should come from budgets for general population programmes. This is projected to avert 17% of new infections and 29% of AIDS-related deaths by 2020 compared to a baseline scenario of maintaining 2013 spending. Our sensitivity analysis demonstrated that, at current spending, coverage of annual testing among migrants of at least 43% should be achieved to warrant continuation of funding for this programme.

Optimization of HIV/AIDS investment in Armenia, with a main priority for scaling-up ART, and less emphasis on primary prevention in the general non-key population could significantly reduce incidence and deaths by 2020.