Assistant Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences
Getting to Zero (GTZ) initiatives focus on expanding use of antiretroviral treatment (ART) and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to eliminate new HIV infections. Computational models help inform policies for implementation of ART and PrEP continuums. Such models, however, vary in their design, and may yield inconsistent predictions. Using multiple approaches can help assess the consistency in results obtained from varied modeling frameworks, and can inform optimal implementation strategies.
A study using three different modeling approaches is conducted. Two approaches use statistical time series analysis techniques that incorporate temporal HIV incidence data. A third approach uses stochastic stimulation, conducted using an agent-based network model (ABNM). All three approaches are used to project HIV incidence among a key population, young Black MSM (YBMSM), over the course of the GTZ implementation period (2016-2030).
Increasing PrEP and ART uptake by about 30% might be necessary to accomplish GTZ goals. Such scale-up may require addressing psychosocial and structural barriers to engagement in HIV and PrEP care continuums. ABNMs and other flexible modeling approaches can be extended to examine specific interventions that address these barriers and may provide important data to guide the successful intervention implementation.
All three approaches suggest that simultaneously increasing PrEP and ART uptake is likely to be more effective than increasing only one, but increasing ART and PrEP by 20% points may not eliminate new HIV infections among YBMSM. The results further suggest that a 20% increase in ART is likely to be more effective than a 20% increase in PrEP. All three methods consistently project that increasing ART and PrEP by 30% simultaneously can help reach GTZ goals.