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Global Syphilis Burden: Need for Accurate Economic Evaluations and Policymaking

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Syphilis, a sexually transmitted infection, continues to cause significant global morbidity and mortality. To address this issue, a comprehensive assessment of utility and disability weights related to health states associated with syphilis was conducted. The research aimed to provide valuable information for syphilis-related policymaking and economic evaluation studies.

A systematic review was undertaken that examined six databases for economic evaluations and primary valuation studies related to syphilis from January 2000 to February 2022. The focus of the review was to extract health state utility values or disability weights. The process of derivation of these values was also identified. The study was officially registered in the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO, CRD42021230035).

From the 3401 studies screened, 22 economic evaluations, two primary studies providing condition-specific measures, and 13 burdens of disease studies were included. Outcomes were reported as disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) in fifteen economic evaluations and as quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) in seven. It was found that fourteen of the fifteen economic evaluations that used DALYs based their values on the original Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study from 1990. The methodology of the seven QALY-related economic evaluations varied, with some studies using assumptions and others creating utility weights or converting them from disability weights.


The Urgent Need for Enhanced Research on Health State Valuation in Syphilis

The findings highlighted a limited evidence base for the valuation of health states for syphilis and a lack of transparency for the development of existing health state utility values. The application of these values to estimate DALYs and QALYs was found to be inconsistent.

The study concludes that further research is needed to expand the evidence base. This will enable policymakers to access accurate and well-informed economic evaluations and allocate resources to address this condition effectively. It will also aid in the implementation of cost-effective syphilis programs.


Original Article DOI: 10.1186/s12955-024-02234-1

Original title: Ignored and undervalued in public health: a systematic review of health state utility values associated with syphilis infection

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