Network Mixing and Network Influences Most Linked to HIV Infection and Risk Behavior in the HIV Epidemic Among Black Men Who Have Sex With Men

John A. Schneider is with the Department of Medicine and Department of Health Studies, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL. Phil Schumm is with the Department of Health Studies, University of Chicago. Benjamin Cornwell is with the Department of Sociology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. David Ostrow is with Ostrow and Associates, Chicago. Stuart Michaels, and Edward O. Laumann are with the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. Edward O. Laumann is also with the Department of Sociology, University of Chicago. Samuel Friedman is with the National Development and Research Institutes Inc, New York, NY.
American Journal of Public Health (Impact Factor: 4.23). 11/2012; DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.301003
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Objectives. We evaluated network mixing and influences by network members upon Black men who have sex with men. Methods. We conducted separate social and sexual network mixing analyses to determine the degree of mixing on risk behaviors (e.g., unprotected anal intercourse [UAI]). We used logistic regression to assess the association between a network "enabler" (would not disapprove of the respondent's behavior) and respondent behavior. Results. Across the sample (n = 1187) network mixing on risk behaviors was more assortative (like with like) in the sexual network (r(sex), 0.37-0.54) than in the social network (r(social), 0.21-0.24). Minimal assortativity (heterogeneous mixing) among HIV-infected men on UAI was evident. Black men who have sex with men reporting a social network enabler were more likely to practice UAI (adjusted odds ratio = 4.06; 95% confidence interval = 1.64, 10.05) a finding not observed in the sexual network (adjusted odds ratio = 1.31; 95% confidence interval = 0.44, 3.91). Conclusions. Different mixing on risk behavior was evident with more disassortativity among social than sexual networks. Enabling effects of social network members may affect risky behavior. Attention to of high-risk populations' social networks is needed for effective and sustained HIV prevention. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print November 15, 2012: e1-e9. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2012.301003).

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