Identifying Individuals at High Risk for HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections With an Artificial Intelligence-Based Risk Assessment Tool

Phyu M. Latt, Nyi N. Soe, Xianglong Xu, Jason J. Ong, Eric P.F. Chow, Christopher K. Fairley, Lei Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background. We have previously developed an artificial intelligence-based risk assessment tool to identify the individual risk of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in a sexual health clinical setting. Based on this tool, this study aims to determine the optimal risk score thresholds to identify individuals at high risk for HIV/STIs. Methods. Using 2008-2022 data from 216 252 HIV, 227 995 syphilis, 262 599 gonorrhea, and 320 355 chlamydia consultations at a sexual health center, we applied MySTIRisk machine learning models to estimate infection risk scores. Optimal cutoffs for determining high-risk individuals were determined using Youden's index. Results. The HIV risk score cutoff for high risk was 0.56, with 86.0% sensitivity (95% CI, 82.9%-88.7%) and 65.6% specificity (95% CI, 65.4%-65.8%). Thirty-five percent of participants were classified as high risk, which accounted for 86% of HIV cases. The corresponding cutoffs were 0.49 for syphilis (sensitivity, 77.6%; 95% CI, 76.2%-78.9%; specificity, 78.1%; 95% CI, 77.9%-78.3%), 0.52 for gonorrhea (sensitivity, 78.3%; 95% CI, 77.6%-78.9%; specificity, 71.9%; 95% CI, 71.7%-72.0%), and 0.47 for chlamydia (sensitivity, 68.8%; 95% CI, 68.3%-69.4%; specificity, 63.7%; 95% CI, 63.5%-63.8%). High-risk groups identified using these thresholds accounted for 78% of syphilis, 78% of gonorrhea, and 69% of chlamydia cases. The odds of positivity were significantly higher in the high-risk group than otherwise across all infections: 11.4 (95% CI, 9.3-14.8) times for HIV, 12.3 (95% CI, 11.4-13.3) for syphilis, 9.2 (95% CI, 8.8-9.6) for gonorrhea, and 3.9 (95% CI, 3.8-4.0) for chlamydia. Conclusions. Risk scores generated by the AI-based risk assessment tool MySTIRisk, together with Youden's index, are effective in determining high-risk subgroups for HIV/STIs. The thresholds can aid targeted HIV/STI screening and prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberofae011
Number of pages10
JournalOpen Forum Infectious Diseases
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2024


  • HIV
  • machine learning
  • risk assessment tool
  • sexually transmitted infections
  • STIs

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