Chlamydia trachomatis (Ct) is the most reported sexually transmitted infection in the United States, with a major cause of infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, and ectopic pregnancy among women. Despite decades of screening women for Ct, rates increase among young African Americans (AA). We create and analyze a heterosexual agent-based network model to help understand the spread of Ct. We calibrate the model parameters to agree with survey data showing Ct prevalence of 12% of the women and 10% of the men in the 15-25 year-old AA in New Orleans, Louisiana. Our model accounts for both long-term and casual partnerships. The network captures the assortative mixing of individuals by preserving the joint-degree distributions observed in the data. We compare the effectiveness of intervention strategies based on randomly screening men, notifying partners of infected people, which includes partner treatment, partner screening, and rescreening for infection. We compare the difference between treating partners of an infected person both with and without testing them. We observe that although increased Ct screening, rescreening, and treating most of the partners of infected people will reduce the prevalence, these mitigations alone are not sufficient to control the epidemic. The current practice is to treat the partners of an infected individual without first testing them for infection. The model predicts that if a sufficient number of the partners of all infected people are tested and treated, then there is a threshold condition where the epidemic can be mitigated. This threshold results from the expanded treatment network created by treating an individual’s infected partners’ partners. Although these conclusions can help design future Ct mitigation studies, we caution the reader that these conclusions are for the mathematical model, not the real world, and are contingent on the validity of the model assumptions.Copyright © 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
About The Expert
James Mac Hyman