Background: A national chlamydia screening programme is currently being rolled out in the UK and other countries. However, much of the epidemiology remains poorly understood. In this paper we present a stochastic, individual based, dynamic sexual network model of chlamydia transmission and its parameterisation. Mathematical models provide a theoretical framework for understanding the key epidemiological features of chlamydia: sexual behaviour, health care seeking and transmission dynamics.
Results: The model parameters were estimated either directly or by systematic fitting to a variety of appropriate data sources. The fitted model was representative of sexual behaviour, chlamydia epidemiology and health care use in England. We were able to recapture the observed age distribution of chlamydia prevalence.
Conclusion: Estimating parameters for models of sexual behaviour and transmission of chlamydia is complex. Most of the parameter values are highly correlated, highly variable and there is little empirical evidence to inform estimates. We used a novel approach to estimate the rate of active treatment seeking, by combining data sources, which improved the credibility of the model results. The model structure is flexible and is broadly applicable to other developed world settings and provides a practical tool for public health decision makers.