The prevalent cohort study and the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome

Ron Brookmeyer, Mitchell H. Gail, Frank Polk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


The acquired Immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) Is caused by a retrovirus, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). A rapid and convenient method to Identify additional cofactors or risk modifiers and markers of disease progression is to study a cohort prevalent with HIV antibody. However, because the time of viral infection is usually unknown in the cohort, there are several potential sources of bias. Three sources of bias in a prevalent cohort study are identified assuming a proportional hazards model: onset confounding, differential length-biased sampling, and frailty selection. A number of problems In the interpretation of results on markers from a prevalent cohort also are considered. It is concluded that risk estimates derived from a prevalent cohort are not directly comparable to risk estimates derived from an Incident cohort.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-24
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1987


  • Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
  • Biometry
  • Epidemiologic methods
  • Follow-up studies
  • Human immunodeficiency viruses
  • Prevalence studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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