Biology as population dynamics: heuristics for transmission risk

Am J Reprod Immunol. 2013 Feb;69 Suppl 1:88-94. doi: 10.1111/aji.12040. Epub 2012 Nov 29.


Population-type models, accounting for phenomena such as population lifetimes, mixing patterns, recruitment patterns, genetic evolution and environmental conditions, can be usefully applied to the biology of HIV infection and viral replication. A simple dynamic model can explore the effect of a vaccine-like stimulus on the mortality and infectiousness, which formally looks like fertility, of invading virions; the mortality of freshly infected cells; and the availability of target cells, all of which impact on the probability of infection. Variations on this model could capture the importance of the timing and duration of different key events in viral transmission, and hence be applied to questions of mucosal immunology. The dynamical insights and assumptions of such models are compatible with the continuum of between- and within-individual risks in sexual violence and may be helpful in making sense of the sparse data available on the association between HIV transmission and sexual violence.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • HIV / physiology*
  • HIV Infections* / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections* / immunology
  • HIV Infections* / transmission
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Mucosal*
  • Male
  • Models, Biological*
  • Population Dynamics*
  • Sex Offenses*
  • Virus Replication / immunology*