Interaction of mathematical modeling and social and behavioral HIV/AIDS research

Cassels, Susan; Goodreau, Steven M

Current Opinion in HIV & AIDS: March 2011 - Volume 6 - Issue 2 - p 119–123
doi: 10.1097/COH.0b013e328343acad
Epidemic modelling: Edited by Geoffrey Garnett and David P. Wilson

Purpose of review: HIV is transmitted within complex biobehavioral systems. Mathematical modeling can provide insight to complex population-level outcomes of various behaviors measured at an individual level.

Recent findings: HIV models in the social and behavioral sciences can be categorized in a number of ways; here, we consider two classes of applications common in the field generally, and in the past year in particular: those models that explore significant behavioral determinants of HIV disparities within and between populations; and those models that seek to evaluate the potential impact of specific social and behavioral interventions.

Summary: We discuss two overarching issues we see in the field: the need to further systematize effectiveness models of behavioral interventions, and the need for increasing investigation of the use of behavioral data in epidemic models. We believe that a recent initiative by the National Institutes of Health will qualitatively change the relationships between epidemic modeling and sociobehavioral prevention research in the coming years.

aDepartments of Epidemiology & Global Health, USA

bDepartment of Anthropology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA

Correspondence to Susan Cassels, Departments of Epidemiology & Global Health, 325 9th Ave., Box 359931, Seattle, WA 98104, USA Tel: +1 206 897 1758; e-mail:

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