Comparison of two simulators for individual based models in HIV epidemiology in a population with HSV 2 in Yaoundé (Cameroon)

Diana M. Hendrickx, João Dinis Sousa, Pieter J.K. Libin, Wim Delva, Jori Liesenborgs, Niel Hens, Viktor Müller, Anne Mieke Vandamme

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Model comparisons have been widely used to guide intervention strategies to control infectious diseases. Agreement between different models is crucial for providing robust evidence for policy-makers because differences in model properties can influence their predictions. In this study, we compared models implemented by two individual-based model simulators for HIV epidemiology in a heterosexual population with Herpes simplex virus type-2 (HSV-2). For each model simulator, we constructed four models, starting from a simplified basic model and stepwise including more model complexity. For the resulting eight models, the predictions of the impact of behavioural interventions on the HIV epidemic in Yaoundé-Cameroon were compared. The results show that differences in model assumptions and model complexity can influence the size of the predicted impact of the intervention, as well as the predicted qualitative behaviour of the HIV epidemic after the intervention. These differences in predictions of an intervention were also observed for two models that agreed in their predictions of the HIV epidemic in the absence of that intervention. Without additional data, it is impossible to determine which of these two models is the most reliable. These findings highlight the importance of making more data available for the calibration and validation of epidemiological models.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14696
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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