Determination of critical community size from an HIV/AIDS model

Article Type

Research Article

Publication Title



After an epidemic outbreak, the infection persists in a community long enough to engulf the entire susceptible population. Local extinction of the disease could be possible if the susceptible population gets depleted. In large communities, the tendency of eventual damp down of recurrent epidemics is balanced by random variability. But, in small communities, the infection would die out when the number of susceptible falls below a certain threshold. Critical community size (CCS) is considered to be the mentioned threshold, at which the infection is as likely as not to die out after a major epidemic for small communities unless reintroduced from outside. The determination of CCS could aid in devising systematic control strategies to eradicate the infectious disease from small communities. In this article, we have come up with a simplified computation based approach to deduce the CCS of HIV disease dynamics. We consider a deterministic HIV model proposed by Silva and Torres, and following Nåsell, introduce stochasticity in the model through time-varying population sizes of different compartments. Besides, Metcalf’s group observed that the relative risk of extinction of some infections on islands is almost double that in the mainlands i.e. infections cease to exist at a significantly higher rate in islands compared to the mainlands. They attributed this phenomenon to the greater recolonization in the mainlands. Interestingly, the application of our method on demographic facts and figures of countries in the AIDS belt of Africa led us to expect that existing control measures and isolated locations would assist in temporary eradication of HIV infection much faster. For example, our method suggests that through systematic control strategies, after 7.36 years HIV epidemics will temporarily be eradicated from different communes of island nation Madagascar, where the population size falls below its CCS value, unless the disease is reintroduced from outside.



Publication Date



Open Access, Gold, Green

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