AbstractInfection intensity can dictate disease outcomes but is typically ignored when modeling infection dynamics of microparasites (e.g., bacteria, virus, and fungi). However, for a number of pathogens of wildlife typically categorized as microparasites, accounting for infection intensity and within-host infection processes is critical for predicting population-level responses to pathogen invasion. Here, we develop a modeling framework we refer to as reduced-dimension host-parasite integral projection models (reduced IPMs) that we use to explore how within-host infection processes affect the dynamics of pathogen invasion and virulence evolution. We find that individual-level heterogeneity in pathogen load-a nearly ubiquitous characteristic of host-parasite interactions that is rarely considered in models of microparasites-generally reduces pathogen invasion probability and dampens virulence-transmission trade-offs in host-parasite systems. The latter effect likely contributes to widely predicted virulence-transmission trade-offs being difficult to observe empirically. Moreover, our analyses show that intensity-dependent host mortality does not always induce a virulence-transmission trade-off, and systems with steeper than linear relationships between pathogen intensity and host mortality rate are significantly more likely to exhibit these trade-offs. Overall, reduced IPMs provide a useful framework to expand our theoretical and data-driven understanding of how within-host processes affect population-level disease dynamics.