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Network dynamics of HIV risk and prevention in a population-based cohort of young Black men who have sex with men

  • J. SCHNEIDER (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4), B. CORNWELL (a5), A. JONAS (a1) (a6), N. LANCKI (a1) (a6), R. BEHLER (a7), B. SKAATHUN (a2) (a8), L. E. YOUNG (a1) (a9), E. MORGAN (a2) (a10), S. MICHAELS (a11), R. DUVOISIN (a11), A. S. KHANNA (a1) (a12), S. FRIEDMAN (a13), P. SCHUMM (a14), E. LAUMANN (a15) (a16) and FOR THE uCONNECT STUDY TEAM (a17)...

Critical to the development of improved HIV elimination efforts is a greater understanding of how social networks and their dynamics are related to HIV risk and prevention. In this paper, we examine network stability of confidant and sexual networks among young black men who have sex with men (YBMSM). We use data from uConnect (2013–2016), a population-based, longitudinal cohort study. We use an innovative approach to measure both sexual and confidant network stability at three time points, and examine the relationship between each type of stability and HIV risk and prevention behaviors. This approach is consistent with a co-evolutionary perspective in which behavior is not only affected by static properties of an individual's network, but may also be associated with changes in the topology of his or her egocentric network. Our results indicate that although confidant and sexual network stability are moderately correlated, their dynamics are distinct with different predictors and differing associations with behavior. Both types of stability are associated with lower rates of risk behaviors, and both are reduced among those who have spent time in jail. Public health awareness and engagement with both types of networks may provide new opportunities for HIV prevention interventions.

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