Open Access Research article

The economic costs and health-related quality of life of people with HIV/AIDS in the Canary Islands, Spain

Julio Lopez-Bastida124*, Juan Oliva-Moreno34, Lilisbeth Perestelo-Perez14 and Pedro Serrano-Aguilar14

Author Affiliations

1 Evaluation and Planning Unit, Canary Island Health Service, Spain

2 University Hospital Nuestra Sra de la Candelaria, Canary Island Health Service, Spain

3 University Castilla La Mancha, Madrid, Spain

4 CIBER de Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Spain

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Health Services Research 2009, 9:55  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-9-55

Published: 30 March 2009



The objective was to determine the economic burden, as well as the impact on HRQOL for people with HIV/AIDS in Spain in 2003.


A cross-sectional study of 572 people with HIV were recruited from outpatient clinics in the Canary Islands, Spain. Demographic, health resources utilization, indirect costs and quality of life data were collected through medical records and questionnaires filled out by people with HIV. HRQOL was measured with two generic questionnaires: SF-36 and EQ-5D.


In 2003 annual costs of caring for patients with asymptomatic HIV, symptomatic HIV and AIDS were €10,351, €14,489 and €15,750, respectively. The HRQOL with the EQ-5D was 0.78. SF-36 summary results for physical and mental health were 48.30 and 38.80, respectively.


HIV/AIDS represent a high economic impact from society point of view. the structure of health care costs have changed due to these new drugs, increasing the weight of pharmaceutical treatment over total costs and decreasing the importance of inpatient care costs. In spite of the therapeutic improvements, labour losses/indirect costs still represent a high cost. Costs and HRQOL were strongly associated with severity. Although the latest drug developments have not yet been able to find the definitive cure, they have allowed an improvement in expectancy of life and in the HRQOL of the patients.