• Journal Article

A Linked Risk Group Model for Investigating the Spread of Hiv


Cooley, P., Hamill, D., Liner, E., Myers, L., & VanDerHorst, C. M. (1993). A Linked Risk Group Model for Investigating the Spread of Hiv. Mathematical and Computer Modelling, 18(12), 85-102.


This paper describes a model that simulates the spread of HIV and progression to AIDS. The model is based on classical models of disease transmission. It consists of six linked risk groups and tracks the numbers of infectives, AIDS cases, AIDS related deaths, and other deaths of infected persons in each risk group. Parametric functions are used to represent risk-group-specific and time-dependent average contact rates. Contacts are needle sharing, sexual contacts, or blood product transfers. An important feature of the model is that the contact rate parameters are estimated by minimizing differences between AIDS incidence and reported AIDS cases adjusted for undercounting biases. This feature results in an HIV epidemic curve that is analogous to one estimated by backcalculation models but whose dynamics are determined by simulating disease transmission. The model exhibits characteristics of both the disease transmission and the backcalculation approaches, i.e., the model: reconstructs the historical behavior patterns of the different risk groups, includes separate effects of treatment and changes in average contact rates, accounts for other mortality risks for persons infected with HIV, calculates short-term projections of AIDS incidence, HIV incidence, and HIV prevalence, calculates cumulative HIV infections (the quantity calculated by backcalculation approaches) and HIV prevalence (the quantity measured by seroprevalence and sentinel surveys). This latter feature permits the validation of the estimates generated by two distinct approaches. We demonstrate the use of the model with an application to U.S. AIDS data through 1991