Can the UNAIDS Modes of Transmission model be improved?

Holly Prudden, Charlotte Watts, Peter Vickerman, Natalia Bobrova, Lori Heise, Michael Ogungbemi, Amaka Momah, James Blanchard, Anna Foss. Sexually Transmitted Infections , 2013; Vol. 89, suppl 1 Download publication (open access not available)

The UNAIDS Modes of Transmission (MoT) model has been used by 29 countries to analyse their HIV epidemics, with the results helping to guide and focus interventions. However, the simplistic compartmentalisation of the population within the model has raised concerns over its reliability.

Members of the SaME group at LSHTM compared MoT model projections with a revised model that incorporates additional heterogeneity (such as sub-groups for individuals engaging in transactional sex).

This paper shows that the UNAIDS MoT remains an accessible and potentially useful model that can help inform intervention priorities. However, it argues that the current model may produce misleading findings, especially in more concentrated HIV epidemic settings. Results from this study indicate the need for a formal review of the MoT, and for further revisions to be made.

Watch a STRIVE Learning Lab about the MoT model by Holly Prudden, who explains how modelling helps disaggregate 'transactional sex' from 'sex work' in studies of HIV.

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