Dynamic models augmented by hierarchical data: an application of estimating HIV epidemics at sub-national level

Biostatistics. 2024 Feb 29:kxae003. doi: 10.1093/biostatistics/kxae003. Online ahead of print.


Dynamic models have been successfully used in producing estimates of HIV epidemics at the national level due to their epidemiological nature and their ability to estimate prevalence, incidence, and mortality rates simultaneously. Recently, HIV interventions and policies have required more information at sub-national levels to support local planning, decision-making and resource allocation. Unfortunately, many areas lack sufficient data for deriving stable and reliable results, and this is a critical technical barrier to more stratified estimates. One solution is to borrow information from other areas within the same country. However, directly assuming hierarchical structures within the HIV dynamic models is complicated and computationally time-consuming. In this article, we propose a simple and innovative way to incorporate hierarchical information into the dynamical systems by using auxiliary data. The proposed method efficiently uses information from multiple areas within each country without increasing the computational burden. As a result, the new model improves predictive ability and uncertainty assessment.

Keywords: HIV epidemics; dynamical systems; hierarchical model.

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