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The general mixing of addicts and needles in a variable-infectivity needle-sharing environment

Greenhalgh, D. and Lewis, F. (2002) The general mixing of addicts and needles in a variable-infectivity needle-sharing environment. Journal of Mathematical Biology, 44 (6). pp. 561-598. ISSN 0303-6812

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In this paper we develop and analyse a model for the spread of HIV/AIDS amongst a population of injecting drug users. The model we discuss focuses on the transmission of HIV through the sharing of contaminated drug injection equipment and in particular we examine the mixing of addicts and needles when the AIDS incubation period is divided into three distinct infectious stages. The impact of this assumption is to greatly increase the complexity of the HIV transmission mechanism. We begin the paper with a brief literature review followed by the derivation of a model which incorporates three classes of infectious addicts and three classes of infectious needles and where a general probability structure is used to represent the interaction of addicts and needles of varying levels of infectivity. We find that if the basic reproductive number is less than or equal to unity then there exists a globally stable disease free equilibrium. The model possesses an endemic equilibrium solution if the basic reproductive number exceeds unity. We then conduct a brief simulation study of our model. We find that the spread of disease is heavily influenced by the way addicts and needles of different levels of infectivity interact.