The current study examined whether the supervised injection facility and syringe exchange programs offered by Insite in Vancouver are cost-saving. The author compared Insite's operating costs in one year with costs associated with preventable HIV infections and related medical care.
Mathematical models were used to calculate the number of additional HIV infections that might result were Insite closed, as well as the lifetime HIV-associated costs of medical care.
With Insite's closure, the annual number of incident HIV infections among Vancouver injection drug users would be expected to rise from 179.3 to 262.8. These 83.5 preventable infections would be associated with $17.6 million (US $17.5 million) in lifetime HIV-related medical care, much greater than Insite's approximately $3 million (US $2.98 million) operating cost.
"Insite's safe injection facility and syringe exchange program substantially reduce the incidence of HIV infection within Vancouver's IDU community," Pinkerton concluded. "The associated savings in averted HIV-related medical care costs are more than sufficient to offset Insite's operating costs."