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Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine
Volume 2015, Article ID 867264, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/867264
Research Article

An Agent-Based Epidemic Simulation of Social Behaviors Affecting HIV Transmission among Taiwanese Homosexuals

Department of Computer Science and Information Engineering, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering, Chang Gung University, 259 Wen Hwa 1st Road, Taoyuan 333, Taiwan

Received 28 May 2014; Accepted 30 October 2014

Academic Editor: Ezequiel López-Rubio

Copyright © 2015 Chung-Yuan Huang. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Computational simulations are currently used to identify epidemic dynamics, to test potential prevention and intervention strategies, and to study the effects of social behaviors on HIV transmission. The author describes an agent-based epidemic simulation model of a network of individuals who participate in high-risk sexual practices, using number of partners, condom usage, and relationship length to distinguish between high- and low-risk populations. Two new concepts—free links and fixed links—are used to indicate tendencies among individuals who either have large numbers of short-term partners or stay in long-term monogamous relationships. An attempt was made to reproduce epidemic curves of reported HIV cases among male homosexuals in Taiwan prior to using the agent-based model to determine the effects of various policies on epidemic dynamics. Results suggest that when suitable adjustments are made based on available social survey statistics, the model accurately simulates real-world behaviors on a large scale.