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This article reports on a study of medical costs of intravenous drug users (IVDUs) with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) in Brooklyn, NY. Sociodemographic and clinical data as well as information on medical resource use was gathered for 38 IVDUs with AIDS, all of whom belonged to minority racial/ethnic groups and were covered by Medicaid insurance. Data obtained through patient interviews and review of medical records indicated that the sample had mean annual medical charges of $33,002 per patient per year. Average inpatient charges were $24,171, with an average of 1.13 hospitalizations and 38.5 days of in-hospital care. Significantly more in-hospital care and higher inpatient charges on average were noted among patients who did not have a stable housing environment. Outpatient charges averaged $8,831, with 80% for pharmaceuticals. This estimate of medical charges and resource use, one of the first developed in a cohort of nonwhite individuals with I.V. drug use as a risk factor for human immunodeficiency virus infection, is about one third less than recent estimates reported from studies of cohorts of white homosexual men.

Originally published in: Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, v. 5, no. 1, 1992, pp. 1-6.

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