Statistical Considerations for Cross-Sectional HIV Incidence Estimation Based on Recency Test

by   Fei Gao, et al.

Longitudinal cohorts to determine the incidence of HIV infection are logistically challenging, so researchers have sought alternative strategies. Recency test methods use biomarker profiles of HIV-infected subjects in a cross-sectional sample to infer whether they are "recently" infected and to estimate incidence in the population. Two main estimators have been used in practice: one that assumes a recency test is perfectly specific, and another that allows for false-recent results. To date, these commonly used estimators have not been rigorously studied with respect to their assumptions and statistical properties. In this paper, we present a theoretical framework with which to understand these estimators and interrogate their assumptions, and perform a simulation study to assess the performance of these estimators under realistic HIV epidemiological dynamics. We conclude with recommendations for the use of these estimators in practice and a discussion of future methodological developments to improve HIV incidence estimation via recency test.


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