Mathematical modeling of the AIDS epidemic can be useful for policymakers even though precise projections are not possible at this time. Models are useful in establishing ranges for current and future prevalence of HIV infection and incidence of AIDS, as well as in predicting the effect of a given intervention strategy. Most decision makers are using models implicitly when they use epidemiological information as a basis for policy; formulating a model explicitly permits examination of the underlying assumptions. By creating and testing a variety of models, an investigator can determine whether the models reflect more the underlying assumptions or the available data. Modeling is a process that helps the policymaker test and refine his or her own beliefs about the future of the epidemic and the effect of behavioral intervention. In this report, the process is examined in relation to five policy problems posed by the AIDS epidemic.



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