Article

Modelling sexually transmitted infections: less is usually more for informing public health policy

National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, The University of New South Wales, 316 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst, Sydney, NSW 2010, Australia.
Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (Impact Factor: 1.93). 04/2008; 102(3):207-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.trstmh.2007.08.009
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Mathematical models have been used to investigate the dynamics of infectious disease transmission since Bernoulli's smallpox modelling in 1760. Their use has become widespread for exploring how epidemics can be prevented or contained. Here we discuss the importance of modelling the dynamics of sexually transmitted infections, the technology-driven dichotomy in methodology, and the need to 'keep it simple' to explore sensitivity, to link the models to reality and to provide understandable mechanistic explanations for real-world policy-makers. The aim of models, after all, is to influence or change public health policy by providing rational forecasting based on sound scientific principles.

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