Long-acting injectable antiretrovirals such as rilpivirine (RPV) could promote adherence to preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention. However, the cost-effectiveness of injectable PrEP is unclear.We constructed a dynamic model of the heterosexual HIV epidemic in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and analyzed scenarios of RPV PrEP scale-up for combination HIV prevention in comparison with a reference scenario without PrEP. We estimated new HIV infections, life-years and costs, and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs), over 10-year and lifetime horizons, assuming a societal perspective.Compared with no PrEP, unprioritized scale-up of RVP PrEP covering 2.5%-15% of adults prevented up to 9% of new infections over 10 years. HIV prevention doubled (17%) when the same coverage was prioritized to 20- to 29-year-old women, costing $10 880-$19 213 per infection prevented. Prioritization of PrEP to 80% of individuals at highest behavioral risk achieved comparable prevention (4%-8%) at <1% overall coverage, costing $298-$1242 per infection prevented. Over lifetime, PrEP scale-up among 20- to 29-year-old women was very cost-effective (<$1600 per life-year gained), dominating unprioritized PrEP, while risk prioritization was cost-saving. PrEP's 10-year impact decreased by almost 50% with increases in ICERs (up to 4.2-fold) in conservative base-case analysis. Sensitivity analysis identified PrEP's costs, efficacy, and reliability of delivery as the principal drivers of uncertainty in PrEP's cost-effectiveness, and PrEP remained cost-effective under the assumption of universal access to second-line antiretroviral therapy.Compared with no PrEP, prioritized scale-up of RPV PrEP in KwaZulu-Natal could be very cost-effective or cost-saving, but suboptimal PrEP would erode benefits and increase costs.
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