Assessing network scale-up estimates for groups most at risk of HIV/AIDS: Evidence from a multiple-method study of heavy drug users in Curitiba, Brazil

Matthew J. Salganik, Dimitri Fazito, Neilane Bertoni, Alexandre H. Abdo, Maeve B. Mello, Francisco I. Bastos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

One of the many challenges hindering the global response to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic is the difficulty of collecting reliable information about the populations most at risk for the disease. Thus, the authors empirically assessed a promising new method for estimating the sizes of most at-risk populations: the network scale-up method. Using 4 different data sources, 2 of which were from other researchers, the authors produced 5 estimates of the number of heavy drug users in Curitiba, Brazil. The authors found that the network scale-up and generalized network scale-up estimators produced estimates 5-10 times higher than estimates made using standard methods (the multiplier method and the direct estimation method using data from 2004 and 2010). Given that equally plausible methods produced such a wide range of results, the authors recommend that additional studies be undertaken to compare estimates based on the scale-up method with those made using other methods. If scale-up-based methods routinely produce higher estimates, this would suggest that scale-up-based methods are inappropriate for populations most at risk of HIV/AIDS or that standard methods may tend to underestimate the sizes of these populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1190-1196
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Volume174
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 15 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology

Keywords

  • HIV
  • acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
  • epidemiologic methods
  • network sampling
  • population size estimation
  • social networks

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