Modelling sexual transmission of HIV: testing the assumptions, validating the predictionsBaggaley, Rebecca F; Fraser, ChristopheCurrent Opinion in HIV and AIDS: July 2010 - Volume 5 - Issue 4 - p 269–276 doi: 10.1097/COH.0b013e32833a51b2 Sexual transmission of HIV: Edited by Sarah J. Fidler Abstract Author Information Purpose of review To discuss the role of mathematical models of sexual transmission of HIV: the methods used and their impact. Recent findings We use mathematical modelling of ‘universal test and treat’ as a case study to illustrate wider issues relevant to all modelling of sexual HIV transmission. Summary Mathematical models are used extensively in HIV epidemiology to deduce the logical conclusions arising from one or more sets of assumptions. Simple models lead to broad qualitative understanding, whereas complex models can encode more realistic assumptions and, thus, be used for predictive or operational purposes. An overreliance on model analysis in which assumptions are untested and input parameters cannot be estimated should be avoided. Simple models providing bold assertions have provided compelling arguments in recent public health policy, but may not adequately reflect the uncertainty inherent in the analysis. MRC Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling, Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Imperial College London, London, UK Correspondence to Rebecca Baggaley, MRC Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling, Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Imperial College London, St Mary's Campus, Norfolk Place, Paddington, London W2 1PG, UK Tel: +44 2075943288; fax: +44 2075943282; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org © 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.