Publications & Reports

Is back-projection methodology still relevant for estimating HIV incidence from national surveillance data?

Kylie-Ann Mallitt, David P Wilson, Ann McDonald, Handan Wand
The Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.


Accurate estimates of HIV incidence are crucial to understand the extent of transmission of the infection, evaluate intervention strategies and effectively plan new public health control measures. HIV/AIDS surveillance systems in numerous industrialised countries record the number of known new HIV and/or AIDS diagnoses, which are often used as a surrogate marker for HIV incidence. HIV/AIDS diagnosis data have been used to reconstruct historical HIV incidence trends using modified back-projection methods. Estimates of HIV incidence are most robust when reliable data on the number of incident infections, a subset of all diagnoses, is widely available, and surveillance systems should prioritize the collection of these data. Back-projection alone provides reliable estimates of HIV incidence in the past, but is not useful when estimating current or future HIV incidence. However, back-projection methodology should be used in conjunction with other corroborative methods to estimate current HIV incidence, and methods to combine the various techniques should be investigated.


  • Journal: The Open AIDS Journal
  • Published: 07/09/2012
  • Volume: 6
  • Pagination: 108-111


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