Estimation and analysis of measures of disease for HIV infection in childbearing women using serial seroprevalence data.
The prevalence and the incidence are two primary epidemiological parameters in infectious disease modelling. The incidence is also closely related to the force of infection or the hazard of infection in survival analysis terms. The two measures carry the same information about a disease because they measure the rate at which new infections occur. The disease prevalence gives the proportion of infected individuals in the population at a given time, while the incidence is the rate of new infections. The thesis discusses methods for estimating HIV prevalence, incidence rates and the force of infection, against age and time, using cross-sectional seroprevalence data for pregnant women attending antenatal clinics. The data was collected on women aged 12 to 47 in rural KwaZulu-Natal for each of the years 2001 to 2006. The generalized linear model for binomial response is used extensively. First the logistic regression model is used to estimate annual HIV prevalence by age. It was found that the estimated prevalence for each year increases with age, to peaks of between 36% and 57% in the mid to late twenties, before declining steadily toward the forties. Fitted prevalence for 2001 is lower than for the other years across all ages. Several models for estimating the force of infection are discussed and applied. The fitted force of infection rises with age to a peak of 0.074 at age 15, and then decreases toward higher ages. The force of infection measures the potential risk of infection per individual per unit time. A proportional hazards model of the age to infection is applied to the data, and shows that additional variables such as partner’s age and the number of previous pregnancies do have a significant effect on the infection hazard. Studies for estimating incidence from multiple prevalence surveys are reviewed. The relative inclusion rate (RIR), accounting for the fact that the probability of inclusion in a prevalence sample depends on the individual’s HIV status, and its role in incidence estimation is discussed as a possible future approach of extending the current work.