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Modeling the End of the Epidemic

“We need to use modeling to communicate what the possibilities are and what’s been gained from investments to date.” This was the consensus of a small group of advocates, activists, public health leaders and modelers gathered on September 9 by AVAC and amfAR to take a closer look at the state of epidemiological modeling as it relates to the goal of ending the AIDS epidemic. There is scientific evidence for a range of potent prevention strategies including treatment as prevention, male circumcision in the immediate term and, in the future, microbicides, PrEP and vaccines. But decision makers face real challenges about determining priorities and budgets. Models can’t provide the answers, but they can give a sense of the benefits and trade-offs for different scenarios. On October 3, Tim Hallett, a modeler and epidemiologist from Imperial College London, met in Nairobi with AVAC and a small group of East African advocates including several of our Fellows, to discuss how advocates can be what Hallett calls “informed consumers” of HIV models. In the coming weeks and months, AVAC and its allies will be working to help frame the questions and modeling the needs critical to ending AIDS. Watch this space.