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J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2002 Oct 1;31(2):218-29.

Social networks and forecasting the spread of HIV infection.

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Affiliated Systems Corporation, Houston, Texas 77027-6022, USA.


This study is an initial effort to use network data to forecast the spread of HIV in a large U.S. city. Data were collected from a sample of drug users and sociodemographically matched nonusers in low-income areas of Houston, Texas. Two sample-based HIV prevalence models and two sociological models were combined with three published biological models to yield forecasts of the growth of HIV seroprevalence. The forecasts predict a compounded annual growth in HIV of between 2.4% and 16.5% among low-income residents of Houston's inner city. These results suggest that forecasts are most sensitive to the nature of the sociological model used. A random mixing model showed about a threefold overestimate of 20-year projected seroprevalence compared with the empiric network data. Thus, the collection of additional social network data is probably the most important requirement for more accurate projections.

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