An agent based model for simulating the spread of sexually transmitted infections

Grant Rutherford, Marcia R Friesen, Robert D McLeod


This work uses agent-based modelling (ABM) to simulate sexually transmitted infection (STIs) spread within a population of 1000 agents over a 10-year period. The work contrasts compartmentalized mathematical models that fail to account for individual agents, and ABMs commonly applied to simulate the spread of respiratory infections. The model was developed in C++ using the Boost 1.47.0 libraries for the normal distribution and OpenGL for visualization. Sixteen agent parameters interact individually and in combination to govern agent profiles and behaviours relative to infection probabilities. The simulation results provide qualitative comparisons of STI mitigation strategies, including the impact of condom use, promiscuity, the form of the friend network, and mandatory STI testing. Individual and population-wide impacts were explored, with individual risk being impacted much more dramatically by population-level behaviour changes as compared to individual behaviour changes.

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Online Journal of Public Health Informatics * ISSN 1947-2579 *