Accounting for follow-up bias in estimation of human immunodeficiency virus incidence rates

Ron Brookmeyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of this paper is to describe methods for estimating current incidence rates for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that account for follow-up bias. Follow-up bias arises when the incidence rate among individuals in a cohort who return for follow-up is different from the incidence rate among those who do not return. The methods are based on the use of early markers of HIV infection such as p24 antigen. The first method, called the cross-sectional method, uses only data collected at an initial base-line visit. The method does not require follow-up data but does require a priori knowledge of the mean duration of the marker (μ). A confidence interval procedure is developed that accounts for uncertainty in μ. The second method combines the base-line data from all individuals together with follow-up data from those individuals who return for follow-up. This method has the distinct advantage of not requiring prior information about μ. Several confidence interval procedures for the incidence rate are compared by simulation. The methods are applied to a study in India to estimate current HIV incidence. These data suggest that the epidemic is growing rapidly in some subpopulations in India.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-140
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series A: Statistics in Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997


  • Backcalculation
  • Epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Screening
  • human immunodeficiency virus incidence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty


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