One of the cornerstones in combating the HIV pandemic is the ability to assess the current state and evolution of local HIV epidemics. This remains a complex problem, as many HIV infected individuals remain unaware of their infection status, leading to parts of HIV epidemics being undiagnosed and under-reported. We first present a method to learn epidemiological parameters from phylogenetic trees, using approximate Bayesian computation (ABC). The epidemiological parameters learned as a result of applying ABC are subsequently used in epidemiological models that aim to simulate a specific epidemic. Secondly, we continue by describing the development of a tree statistic, rooted in coalescent theory, which we use to relate epidemiological parameters to a phylogenetic tree, by using the simulated epidemics. We show that the presented tree statistic enables differentiation of epidemiological parameters, while only relying on phylogenetic trees, thus enabling the construction of new methods to ascertain the epidemiological state of an HIV epidemic. By using genetic data to infer epidemic sizes, we expect to enhance our understanding of the portions of the infected population in which diagnosis rates are low.