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Centre for Statistics (CENSTAT) : project R-6401

Title : Combining phylodynamics and agent-based HIV transmission modelling to advance epidemiological methodology and evidencebased public health policies for HIV prevention and treatment (R-6401)
Abstract: High rates of HIV transmission remain an important public health challenge. HIV Phylodynamics is the study of HIV viral genetic data to understand the HIV transmission dynamics behind an HIV epidemic. Agent-based HIV transmission models simulate how HIV epidemics evolve, based on estimates and assumptions of infectious disease parameters. Both methodologies could be combined synergistically, but this area of epidemiological methodology is underinvestigated. The proposed research aims to address this research gap, based on the hypothesis that such a combined approach can lead to a stronger evidence-base for policy making in HIV prevention and treatment. The project is divided into three work packages: (1) collating existing data and analysing new data on the HIV epidemic among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Switzerland, (2) developing a new methodology and software implementation for integrating HIV phylodynamics and agentbased HIV transmission models, and (3) a series of simulation experiments that demonstrate the added value of the new methodology. Although the focus of this project is the epidemiology of HIV infections among MSM in Switzerland, the new methodological framework has many more potential future applications, which may be explored in subsequent projects. These include estimation of the prevention impact of earlier access to HIV treatment, and monitoring the rate of acquired and transmitted HIV drug resistance in other European countries and South Africa.
Period of project : 1/10/2015to30/09/2018

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