TAIPEI (Taiwan News)—A latest report from Taiwan’s Legislature said the country's annual medical expenses for treating HIV/AIDS have been increasing every year, with the government and the National Health Insurance (NHI) expecting to foot an annual medical bill of more than NT$6 billion (about US$196 million) in 2021.
The report said that as global number of new HIV infections has been trending down, new HIV infections in Taiwan are still going up in recent years. The report suggested that the main reason for the increase of new HIV infections is because of the government’s inability to control unsafe sex between men. Furthermore, the report said the ratio of late HIV testing is still too high in Taiwan, suggesting that the government should step up related promulgation and strengthen screening.
As for the financial aspect of treating the disease, the report said that HIV/AIDS patients have to rely on a cocktail of drugs to treat the virus over a long period of time, which is costly. The report said government expenses allocating to NHI for the treatment of the disease had jumped from NT$1.534 billion in 2008 to NT$4.017 billion in 2016, amounting to a total of NT$17.323 billion for this period of time.
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The report added that the enormous HIV/AIDS treatment expenditure has been edging out other NHI expenditures.
With the number of new HIV infections not going down and the survival rate and life expectancy for people living with HIV having dramatically improved, the annual medical expenditure allocating to combating the condition will have to increase, the report said. The report estimates that by 2021, the government and the NHI will have to come up with an annual expenditure of NT$6 billion for prevention and treatment of the condition, suggesting that the government find ways to cope with the situation early to avoid worsening scenarios caused by insufficient funds.