HIV transmission networks and their potential public health applications
Joel Wertheim, Ph.D.
University of California-San Diego
Understanding the path over which viruses such as HIV have been transmitted may be crucial for directing public health resources. Contact tracing of named sexual and injection drug-use partners of people recently diagnosed with HIV is an indispensable tool for reconstructing this transmission network. In addition, viral genetic sequence data—routinely collected by public health agencies—can also be used to infer the dynamics of HIV transmission. We explore the ways in which HIV sequence data has been used to better understand both global and local HIV transmission dynamics. Further, we validate the use viral genetic sequences in reconstructing these viral transmission networks in a public health surveillance setting and demonstrate how genetic sequence data are better than partner naming data for reconstructing the viral transmission network.