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Betting on the fastest horse: Using computer simulation to design a combination HIV intervention for future projects in Maharashtra, India.

Betting on the fastest horse: Using computer simulation to design a combination HIV intervention for future projects in Maharashtra, India.
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Ruggles KV, Patel AR, Schensul S, Schensul J, Nucifora K, Zhou Q, Bryant K, Braithwaite RS,


Ruggles KV, Patel AR, Schensul S, Schensul J, Nucifora K, Zhou Q, Bryant K, Braithwaite RS, (click to view)

Ruggles KV, Patel AR, Schensul S, Schensul J, Nucifora K, Zhou Q, Bryant K, Braithwaite RS,

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PloS one 2017 09 0512(9) e0184179 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0184179

Abstract
OBJECTIVE
To inform the design of a combination intervention strategy targeting HIV-infected unhealthy alcohol users in Maharashtra, India, that could be tested in future randomized control trials.

METHODS
Using probabilistic compartmental simulation modeling we compared intervention strategies targeting HIV-infected unhealthy alcohol users on antiretroviral therapy (ART) in Maharashtra, India. We tested interventions targeting four behaviors (unhealthy alcohol consumption, risky sexual behavior, depression and antiretroviral adherence), in three formats (individual, group based, community) and two durations (shorter versus longer). A total of 5,386 possible intervention combinations were tested across the population for a 20-year time horizon and intervention bundles were narrowed down based on incremental cost-effectiveness analysis using a two-step probabilistic uncertainty analysis approach.

RESULTS
Taking into account uncertainty in transmission variables and intervention cost and effectiveness values, we were able to reduce the number of possible intervention combinations to be used in a randomized control trial from over 5,000 to less than 5. The most robust intervention bundle identified was a combination of three interventions: long individual alcohol counseling; weekly Short Message Service (SMS) adherence counseling; and brief sex risk group counseling.

CONCLUSIONS
In addition to guiding policy design, simulation modeling of HIV transmission can be used as a preparatory step to trial design, offering a method for intervention pre-selection at a reduced cost.

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