Halting HIV/AIDS with avatars and havatars: a virtual world approach to modelling epidemics

Gordon, Richard; Björklund, Natalie K; Smith, Robert J.; Blyden, Eluemuno R.
January 2009
BMC Public Health;2009 Supplement 1, Vol. 9, Special section p1
Academic Journal
Background: A major deficit of all approaches to epidemic modelling to date has been the need to approximate or guess at human behaviour in disease-transmission-related contexts. Avatars are generally human-like figures in virtual computer worlds controlled by human individuals. Methods: We introduce the concept of a "havatar", which is a (human, avatar) pairing. Evidence is mounting that this pairing behaves in virtual contexts much like the human in the pairing might behave in analogous real-world contexts. Results: We propose that studies of havatars, in a virtual world, may give a realistic approximation of human behaviour in real-world contexts. If the virtual world approximates the real world in relevant details (geography, transportation, etc.), virtual epidemics in that world could accurately simulate real-world epidemics. Havatar modelling of epidemics therefore offers a complementary tool for tackling how best to halt epidemics, including perhaps HIV/AIDS, since sexual behaviour is a significant component of some virtual worlds, such as Second Life. Conclusion: Havatars place the control parameters of an epidemic in the hands of each individual. By providing tools that everyone can understand and use, we could democratise epidemiology.


Related Articles

  • Sonic Intelligence as a Virtual Therapeutic Environment. Tarnanas, Ioannis; Adam, Dimitrios // CyberPsychology & Behavior;Jun2003, Vol. 6 Issue 3, p309 

    This paper reports on the results of a research project, on comparing one virtual collaborative environment with a first-person visual immersion (first-perspective interaction) and a second one where the user interacts through a sound-kinetic virtual representation of himself (avatar), as a...

  • Clinical epidemiology of HIV/AIDS in China from 2004-2011. Min Li; Yinzhong Shen; Xiaofei Jiang; Qi Li; Xiaoming Zhou; Hongzhou Lu // BioScience Trends;Feb2014, Vol. 8 Issue 1, p52 

    This study retrospectively analyzed Chinese publicly reported data on Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS). The HIV/AIDS morbidity (1/100,000) and mortality (1/100,000) rates in China continually increased from 0.23 and 0.06 in 2004 to 1.53 and 0.69 in...

  • HETEROSEXUALS AND AIDS. Leishman, Katie // Atlantic (02769077);Feb87, Vol. 259 Issue 2, p39 

    Focuses on the transmission of the human immuno-deficiency virus in families of persons with transfusion-associated infection and between heterosexuals in the U.S. Questions posed by the varying rate of transmission; Notions that have survived the introduction of undeniable evidence of...

  • Origins of the AIDS viruses, HIV-1 and HIV-2: fact or fiction? Discussion paper. Seale, John // Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine;Sep1988, Vol. 81 Issue 9, p537 

    The article discusses the controversy regarding the origins of the AIDS viruses, HIV-1 and HIV-2. According to some theories and explanation, HIV-1 and HIV-2 are ancient human viruses originated in central and west Africa which spread throughout Europe. In addition, it is plausible that AIDS...

  • AIDS AND MEN - Old problem, new angle. Foreman, Martin // AIDS & Men;1998, p1 

    This article looks at the physiological and sociological aspects that led researchers and prevention workers to conclude that the global epidemic of AIDS is driven by men. It discusses the overall impact of the factors that drive the AIDS epidemic on women as well as the influence of male sexual...

  • Increasing HIV Infections Among MSM Of Color: An Epidemiological Assessment. Kennedy IV, Steven B. // Internet Journal of Infectious Diseases;2002, Vol. 2 Issue 2, p44 

    The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic remains a critical health issue for men who have sex with men (MSM), but the situation is even grave for MSM of color. Therefore, this short communication examines and re-assesses the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) HIV/AIDS...

  • Progress update on the global response to the AIDS epidemic, 2004.  // Report on the Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic: UNAIDS - 2004;1/1/2004, p70 

    The article highlights the results of a survey on the global response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The survey estimated that the proportion of pregnant women covered by mother-to-child HIV transmission prevention programs ranges from 2% in Western Pacific, to 5% in sub-Saharan Africa, and to 34% in...

  • Prevention of AIDS and HIV Infection: Needs and Priorities for Epidemiologic Research. Allen, James R.; Curran, James W. // American Journal of Public Health;Apr88, Vol. 78 Issue 4, p381 

    By the end of 1987, almost 50,000 cases of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) will have been reported in the United States. Although the primary epidemiology of the disease has been described, much work remains to be done to complete our understanding of the dynamics of transmission and...

  • Recent Evolutionary History of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Subtype B: Reconstruction of Epidemic Onset Based on Sequence Distances to the Common Ancestor. Lukashov, Vladimir V.; Goudsmit, Jaap // Journal of Molecular Evolution;May2002, Vol. 54 Issue 5, p680 

    We obtained and studied HIV-1 sequences with a known sampling year from three outbreaks of the HIV-1 epidemic: 141 env V3 (270 nt) sampled between 1984 and 1992 and 117 pol prot/RT (804 nt) sequences sampled between 1986 and 1999 from Dutch homosexual men and injecting drug users (IDUs), as well...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics