Bayesian evidence synthesis to estimate HIV prevalence in men who have sex with men in Poland at the end of 2009.

11 Jul 2018

HIV spread in men who have sex with men (MSM) is an increasing problem in Poland. Despite the existence of a surveillance system, there is no direct evidence to allow estimation of HIV prevalence and the proportion undiagnosed in MSM. We extracted data on HIV and the MSM population in Poland, including case-based surveillance data, diagnostic testing prevalence data and behavioural data relating to self-reported prior diagnosis, stratified by age (⩽35, >35 years) and region (Mazowieckie including the capital city of Warsaw; other regions). They were integrated into one model based on a Bayesian evidence synthesis approach. The posterior distributions for HIV prevalence and the undiagnosed fraction were estimated by Markov Chain Monte Carlo methods. To improve the model fit we repeated the analysis, introducing bias parameters to account for potential lack of representativeness in data. By placing additional constraints on bias parameters we obtained precisely identified estimates. This family of models indicates a high undiagnosed fraction [68·3%, 95% credibility interval (CrI) 53·9-76·1] and overall low prevalence (2·3%, 95% CrI 1·4-4·1) of HIV in MSM. Additional data are necessary in order to produce more robust epidemiological estimates. More effort is urgently needed to ensure timely diagnosis of HIV in Poland.