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Non-parametric Back-projection of HIV Positive Tests using Multinomial and Poisson Settings

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Back-projection is a commonly used method in reconstructing HIV incidence. Instead of using AIDS incidence data in back-projection, this paper uses HIV positive tests data. Both multinomial and Poisson settings are used. The two settings give similar results when a parametric form or step function is assumed for the infection curve. However, this may not be true when the HIV infection in each year is characterized by a different parameter. This paper attempts to use simulation studies to compare these two settings by constructing various scenarios for the infection curve. Results show that both methods give approximately the same estimates of the number of HIV infections in the past, whilst the estimates for HIV infections in the recent past differ a lot. The multinomial setting always gives a levelling-off pattern for the recent past, while the Poisson setting is more sensitive to the change in the shape of the HIV infection curve. Nonetheless, the multinomial setting gives a relatively narrower point-wise probability interval. When the size of the epidemic is large, the narrow probability interval may be under-estimating the true underlying variation.
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Keywords: Back-calculation; HIV/AIDS; Hong Kong; Poisson; back-projection; diagnoses; incidence; multinomial; simulation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong 2: Medical and Health Research Network, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Publication date: June 1, 2004

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