How can results of longitudinal studies help mathematicians model the HIV epidemic among intravenous drug abusers and the general population?
This paper describes a simple model of the AIDS epidemic that has been
developed to explore some fundamental relationships among factors that
characterize that epidemic. These factors include: (1) needle sharing and
sexual contacts with individuals within and among risk groups; (2) the rate of
progression from infection with HIV to diagnosis of AIDS; (3) the nature of
viral transmission, including infectivity of the virus; and (4) the survival rates
of persons with AIDS. These factors are imperfectly understood by the scientific community, and until their influence on the epidemic can be evaluated,
no reliable projections of the spread of HIV can be developed.