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Expertise Centre for Digital Media (EDM) : project R-7033

Title : Simulation modelling using phylogenetic, epidemiological and demographic data to inform proactive control strategies for HIV-1 and hepatitis C virus outbreaks among vulnerable populations in Quebec and Belgium. (R-7033)
Abstract: The HIV-1/AIDS pandemic has caused 75 million infections and 1.5 million deaths among Men having Sex with Men (MSM), intravenous drug user (IDU), and heterosexual populations, each influenced by a different array of biological, behavioural and societal factors. More recently, HIV/hepatitis C virus (HCV) co-infections have added to the burden of care for MSM and IDUs. Antiretroviral therapy is key to control HIV epidemics, halving new HET infections in 30 countries, and similar results are being expected with the new treatment strategies for HCV. However, the global resurgence of HIV and HIV/HCV co-infections among MSM and IDU, underscores the need for a modelling framework to combine treatment with prevention and outreach programs for different at-risk populations in "real-world" settings. Phylogenetic studies in Quebec and Belgium have shown that MSM and IDU epidemics are quite different between both countries. The episodic duration of HIV outbreaks in Quebec and the new HIV/HCV co-infection outbreak in Belgium suggest local data are important variables. This Flemish/Quebec collaboration will collate, analyze and triangulate relevant phylogenetic data with available demographic, clinical and behavioural data to understand the differential factors implicated in transmission clustering. This information will be implemented in the simulation of HIV and HCV transmission dynamics, generating data for robust treatment and prevention strategies tailored for MSM and IDUs.
Period of project : 1/01/2016to31/12/2017

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