Point process methods in epidemiology: application to the analysis of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome mortality in urban areas
The analysis of spatio-temporal patterns of disease or death in urban areas has been developed mainly from the ecological studies approach. These designs may have some limitations like the ecological fallacy and instability with few cases. The objective of this study was to apply the point process methodology, as a complement to that of aggregated data, to study HIV/AIDS mortality in men in the city of Alicante (Spain). A case-control study in residents in the city during the period 2004-2011 was designed. Cases were men who died from HIV/AIDS and controls represented the general population, matched by age to cases. The risk surfaces of death over the city were estimated using the log-risk function of intensities, and we contrasted their temporal variations over the two periods. High risk significant areas of death by HIV/AIDS, which coincide with the most deprived areas in the city, were detected. Significant spatial change of the areas at risk between the periods studied was not detected. The point process methodology is a useful tool to analyse the patterns of death by HIV/AIDS in urban areas.
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