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Open Access Research article

Modeling secondary level of HIV contact tracing: its impact on HIV intervention in Cuba

Ying-Hen Hsieh1, Yun-Shih Wang2, Hector de Arazoza3 and Rachid Lounes4*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Public Health and Institute of Biostatistics, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan 404

2 Department of Applied Mathematics, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan 402

3 Department of Mathematics, University of La Habana, Havana, Cuba

4 Laboratoire MAP5, Université Paris Descartes, UMR-CNRS 8145, Paris, France

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2010, 10:194  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-194

Published: 1 July 2010



Universal HIV testing/treatment program has currently been suggested and debated as a useful strategy for elimination of HIV epidemic in Africa, although not without practical issues regarding the costs and feasibility of a fully implemented program.


A mathematical model is proposed which considers two levels of detection of HIV-infectives through contact tracing of known infectives in addition to detections through other means such as random screening. Simulations based on Cuban contact tracing data were performed to ascertain the potential impact of the different levels of contact tracing.


Simulation studies illustrate that: (1) contact tracing is an important intervention measure which, while less effective than random screening, is perhaps less costly and hence ideal for large-scale intervention programs in developing countries with less resources; (2) the secondary level of contact tracing could significantly change the basic disease transmission dynamics, depending on the parameter values; (3) the prevalence of the epidemic at the time of implementation of contact tracing program might be a crucial factor in determining whether the measure will be effective in preventing disease infections and its eventual eradication.


Our results indicate that contact tracing for detection of HIV infectives could be suitably used to remedy inadequacies in a universal HIV testing program when designing timely and effective intervention measures.