Forecasting the future of HIV epidemics: the impact of antiretroviral therapies & imperfect vaccines

AIDS Rev. Apr-Jun 2003;5(2):113-25.


Mathematical models can be used as health policy tools and predictive tools. Here we review how mathematical models have been used both to predict the consequences of specific epidemic control strategies and to design epidemic control strategies. We review how models have been used to evaluate the potential impact on HIV epidemics of (i) combination antiretroviral therapies (ART) and (ii) imperfect vaccines. In particular, we discuss how models have been used to predict the potential effect of ART on incidence rates, and to predict the evolution of an epidemic of drug-resistant HIV. We also discuss, in detail, how mathematical models have been used to evaluate the potential impact of prophylactic, live-attenuated and therapeutic HIV vaccines. We show how HIV vaccine models can be used to evaluate the epidemic-level impact of vaccine efficacy, waning in vaccine-induced immunity, vaccination coverage level, and changes (increases or decreases) in risky behavior. We also discuss how mathematical models can be used to determine the levels of cross-immunity that vaccines will need to attain if they are to be used to control HIV epidemics in countries where more than one subtype is being transmitted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Vaccines / immunology*
  • AIDS Vaccines / therapeutic use
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control*
  • Drug Resistance, Viral
  • Forecasting
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • HIV Infections / therapy
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological


  • AIDS Vaccines
  • Anti-HIV Agents