A team of Indonesian and Australian researchers has developed a new computerised tool to help authorities reduce HIV infection and track disease burden across the Indonesian archipelago.
Until now, tracking the HIV epidemic and collecting the information necessary to design HIV control measures in Indonesia has relied on models developed for other countries.
The HIV in Indonesia Model, customised to the unique epidemic, behavioural and geographical variations of the archipelago, was launched in Jakarta.
HIV has had considerable negative impact in Indonesia, said lead researcher Associate Professor David Wilson, from Australias National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research at the University of New South Wales. Last year almost 485,000 Indonesians were living with HIV. This number is estimated to grow to 744,000 by 2020, with around 50,000 new infections each year.
The HIV in Indonesia Model, known as HIM, is based on world best practice and is the most customised and sophisticated computer model to be developed for the region, A/Professor Wilson said. It uses all available data to match behaviours and trends with outcomes and should open a new era for the design of optimal public health prevention strategies.
HIM is flexible for users to assess different possible combinations of past and future epidemic patters and programs. It can be used to look at unique populations, such as injecting drug users, sex workers, waria (transgenders) and men who have sex with men, as well as the general population.
HIM will allow Indonesia to understand the drivers for their epidemic and project the future course, both under current conditions and under scenarios where targeted interventions might be used, A/Professor Wilson said.
Dr Pandu Riono, lead partner from the Faculty of Public Health at the University of Indonesia, said: The HIM tool will allow us for the first time to track past chains of transmission and to assess the effectiveness of different interventions, so that we are sure we are doing the best we can. This will allow us to implement the most effective public health control measures.
HIM was developed for the Indonesian Ministry of Health and National AIDS Commission and was funded by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) with assistance from the World Bank.