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September 11, 1987

The Economic Impact of AIDS

JAMA. 1987;258(10):1376-1377. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400100110033

What will be the cost of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and who is going to foot the bill? The study by Andrulis et al1 in this issue of The Journal brings us closer to answering these questions. Andrulis and colleagues report important cost information from the largest national survey sample of patients with AIDS conducted to date, including data on nearly 30% of all patients alive during 1985.

The economic impact of AIDS is just beginning to be felt at the national level. Estimates from this study calculate the hospital bill for treating patients with AIDS in 1985 at $380 million. By 1991, economists project costs of $8.5 billion for personal medical care and many more times that amount in the loss to society as thousands of persons die in the prime of their lives.2 The loss in human life is staggering. By 1991, AIDS will be