Estimating Trends in HIV Incidence for Australian Women

The work is concerned with a project funded by an NHMRC grant for which Prof Niels Becker, NCEPH, is the principal investigator and Dr. Zhengfeng Li is a team member. The aim of the project is to apply a newly developed method, using linked data on HIV and AIDS diagnoses, to reconstruct the infection curve and thereby estimate trends in HIV incidence for Australian women who were infected heterosexually. In mathematical terms, we are estimating curves and computing the precision of the estimated curves. The computations use an algorithm adapted from the EM-algorithm, by adding a smoothing step and a Newton-Raphson step.

Principal Investigator

Niels Becker
Nat Centre for Epidemiology and Pop Health



Facilities Used



Zhengfeng Li

RFCD Codes


Significant Achievements, Anticipated Outcomes and Future Work

We find that estimating the extra parameters is feasible, producing estimates with good precision. Including age as a covariate gives 90 % confidence intervals for the HIV incidence curve that are about 20 % narrower than those obtained when age data are not used. Our finding has been reported in a paper of "Age-specific backproject of HIV diagnosis data" which was submitted to the journal of Statistics In Medicine for publication.


Computational Techniques Used

The code was implemented in C++.


Publications, Awards and External Funding

The project was funded by NHMRC.

N.G. Becker, J.C. Lewis, Z.F. Li and A. McDonald, Age-specific backproject of HIV diagnosis data, submitted to Statistics in Medicine.