Modeling the Impact of Social Determinants of Health on HIV

Joseph W. Hogan, Noya Galai, Wendy W. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is growing evidence for the key role of social determinants of health (SDOH) in understanding morbidity and mortality outcomes globally. Factors such as stigma, racism, poverty or access to health and social services represent complex constructs that affect population health via intricate relationships to individual characteristics, behaviors and disease prevention and treatment outcomes. Modeling the role of SDOH is both critically important and inherently complex. Here we describe different modeling approaches and their use in assessing the impact of SDOH on HIV/AIDS. The discussion is thematically divided into mechanistic models and statistical models, while recognizing the overlap between them. To illustrate mechanistic approaches, we use examples of compartmental models and agent-based models; to illustrate statistical approaches, we use regression and statistical causal models. We describe model structure, data sources required, and the scope of possible inferences, highlighting similarities and differences in formulation, implementation, and interpretation of different modeling approaches. We also indicate further needed research on representing and quantifying the effect of SDOH in the context of models for HIV and other health outcomes in recognition of the critical role of SDOH in achieving the goal of ending the HIV epidemic and improving overall population health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-224
Number of pages10
JournalAIDS and Behavior
Issue numberSuppl 2
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • HIV Infections/epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Statistical
  • Poverty
  • Racism
  • Social Determinants of Health


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