The AIDS Epidemic in Tanzania: A System Dynamics Approach for Policy Development
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Despite all the efforts made by the government and other agencies, the AIDS epidemic in Tanzania still remains a major challenge. Over the last two decades the numbers of people living with HIV/AIDS and the deaths caused by the epidemic has been increasing. The predominant mode of transmission is heterosexual contact. In Tanzania, HIV appears to be mostly diffused through heterosexual intercourse. Most infections occur in people between the ages 15 and 59. HIV/AIDS is also a disease of children and this is due to the high fertility of HIV-positive mothers. These make the epidemiological profile very different from HIV in the United States and Europe, where most of the HIV/AIDS policy modeling efforts have been concentrating. Using the method of system dynamics, a model of the spread of HIV in the Tanzania population has been developed. This model provides an increased understanding of HIV transmission dynamics and a way of judging the effectiveness of various intervention strategies. This model provides a policy tool that can be used in the ongoing debate about better management of the epidemic. The purpose of this model is to support the government of Tanzania and policy makers in their effort to slow down the spread of AIDS epidemic. The model replicates the historical data reasonably well and suggests that Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) alone, cannot significantly impact the number of HIV/AIDS infected individuals in the long run. The combination of two policies the HIV education and awareness program and Nevirapine treatment shows the maximum effectiveness.