Elimination of HIV in South Africa through Expanded Access to Antiretroviral Therapy: A Model Comparison Study

Jan Hontelez, MN Lurie, T Barnighausen, Roel Bakker, R Baltussen, F Tanser, TB Hallett, ML Newell, Sake de Vlas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

90 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background: Expanded access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) using universal test and treat (UTT) has been suggested as a strategy to eliminate HIV in South Africa within 7 y based on an influential mathematical modeling study. However, the underlying deterministic model was criticized widely, and other modeling studies did not always confirm the study's finding. The objective of our study is to better understand the implications of different model structures and assumptions, so as to arrive at the best possible predictions of the long-term impact of UTT and the possibility of elimination of HIV. Methods and Findings: We developed nine structurally different mathematical models of the South African HIV epidemic in a stepwise approach of increasing complexity and realism. The simplest model resembles the initial deterministic model, while the most comprehensive model is the stochastic microsimulation model STDSIM, which includes sexual networks and HIV stages with different degrees of infectiousness. We defined UTT as annual screening and immediate ART for all HIV-infected adults, startin Conclusions: Our results confirm previous predictions that the HIV epidemic in South Africa can be eliminated through universal testing and immediate treatment at 90% coverage. However, more realistic models show that elimination is likely to occur at a much later point in time than the initial model suggested. Also, UTT is a cost-effective intervention, but less cost-effective than previously predicted because the current South African ART treatment policy alone could already drive HIV into eli
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalPLoS Medicine (print)
Volume10
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Cite this