Network modeling of sexually transmitted diseases
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We create a dynamic network model to replicate more closely the population network structures of interest. Network, Norms and HIV/STI Risk Among Youth (NNAHRAY) is a community relationship survey data set, which provides a rare sample of a human risky-behavior contact network. Combining disease compartmental models with our dynamic network model, we simulate the spread of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Herpes Simplex Type 2 Virus (HSV2) with consideration of HSV2's synergistic impact on HIV's transmission. Our model reproduces HIV prevalence, HSV-2 prevalence, and the contact network close to those observed in NNAHRAY, with HIV annual prevalence closer to the estimated values from the literature than those of any disease spread model based on static networks. The success of fitting our model to the target data shows the importance of considering the data sampling process, contact dynamics, and contact network structures. Our model, under certain conditions, has prevalence prediction results that are insensitive to changes in network size. The analysis of various prevention/intervention strategies targeting different risky groups gives important insights into strategy prioritization and illustrates how our model can be used to assist in making public health policy decisions in practice, both for individual diseases and in the more-recent area of study that considers synergy between two diseases.