Last year, a study by the Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies verified that community-wide HIV treatment makes people less infectious, reducing new infections of the virus. The study, done in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal, found that transmission rates of the virus go down as more HIV-infected community members get treatment.
Something similar seems to be happening in Massachusetts and it may be due to Romneycare. That’s the health insurance program implemented by Massachusett’s Governor Mitt Romney in 2006 that required state residents to have health insurance. Since 2006, the rate of new HIV infections within the state has been declining. Why? Well its possibly because 98% of Bay State residents now have health insurance. So just about any resident with HIV has access to treatment. That means fewer infectious state residents to spread HIV.
Tragically, HIV infection rates are not going down in states where people can’t readily get health insurance. To make things worse there are those fighting to scuttle Obamacare. Some states are also threatening to refuse Obamacare slated ACA Medicaid expansion. That expansion would provide health care to millions of people including many with HIV.
Many of these states (in the south in particular) are also where the epidemic is exploding. Fewer people with insurance means fewer on HIV treatment. That also means more people will be likely to infect others and so fuel the spread of the virus.
The upside of fewer infections for Massachusetts though is that over the long-haul, as well as saving lives, it save the state money — a lot of money in fact. Five Massachusetts studies show that for every HIV infection that is prevented, the government saves about $500,000.
Save lives and money? Now that’s a great deal. So take heed America!