Ben Wilson

Modelling effect of sex-work on the HIV epidemic in Nairobi, Kenya, using a sexual contact network.

 

The HIV epidemic is prevalent in many central African countries, including Kenya. We explore the role that sex workers may have on sustaining the epidemic at such a high level; sex workers are, epidemiologically speaking, a core group with relatively high infective rates. Using survey data from men and women in Nairobi, we create a sexual contact network to study the spread of HIV throughout the population. The sexual contact network we explore is a bipartite network, meaning men can only contract HIV from women, and vice versa. In this population we believe sex workers may play an important role in the spread of HIV, as they are often connected with more individuals in the network and therefore can transmit the infection between more individuals. We explore how changes in behaviour (lowering number of contacts, using condoms more often, etc) can affect disease spread; this can be useful when deciding where HIV prevention resources should be applied. We aim to help identify key areas of focus to slow the spread of HIV throughout the population.