Medical decision making : an international journal of the Society for Medical Decision Making 2016 09 2637(2) 224-233 doi 10.1177/0272989X16668509
HIV transmission is the result of complex dynamics in the risk behaviors, partnership choices, disease stage and position along the HIV care continuum-individual characteristics that themselves can change over time. Capturing these dynamics and simulating transmissions to understand the chief sources of transmission remain important for prevention.
The Progression and Transmission of HIV/AIDS (PATH 2.0) is an agent-based model of a sample of 10,000 people living with HIV (PLWH), who represent all men who have sex with men (MSM) and heterosexuals living with HIV in the U.S.A. Persons uninfected were modeled as populations, stratified by risk and gender. The model included detailed individual-level data from several large national surveillance databases. The outcomes focused on average annual transmission rates from 2008 through 2011 by disease stage, HIV care continuum, and sexual risk group.
The relative risk of transmission of those in the acute phase was nine-times [5(th) and 95(th) percentile simulation interval (SI): 7, 12] that of those in the non-acute phase, although, on average, those with acute infections comprised 1% of all PLWH. The relative risk of transmission was 24- to 50-times as high for those in the non-acute phase who had not achieved viral load suppression as compared with those who had. The relative risk of transmission among MSM was 3.2-times [SI: 2.7, 4.0] that of heterosexuals. Men who have sex with men and women generated 46% of sexually acquired transmissions among heterosexuals.
The model results support a continued focus on early diagnosis, treatment and adherence to ART, with an emphasis on prevention efforts for MSM, a subgroup of whom appear to play a role in transmission to heterosexuals.