27 de marzo de 2009

Sexually transmitted infections and the marriage problem

S. Bouzat, D. H. Zanette, Eur. Phys. J. B 70, 557 (2009)

We study an SIS epidemiological model for a sexually transmitted infection in a monogamous population where the formation and breaking of couples is governed by individual preferences. The mechanism of couple recombination is based on the so-called bar dynamics for the marriage problem. We compare the results with those of random recombination – where no individual preferences exist – for which we calculate analytically the infection incidence and the endemic threshold. We find that individual preferences give rise to a large dispersion in the average duration of different couples, causing substantial changes in the incidence of the infection and in the endemic threshold. Our analysis yields also new results on the bar dynamics, that may be of interest beyond the field of epidemiological models.