Skip to main content

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)...
  • Please note a correction has been issued for this article.

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.

Hide All
Anderson, B. J., & Stein, M. D. (2011). A behavioral decision model testing the association of marijuana use and sexual risk in young adult women. AIDS and Behavior, 15 (4), 875884.
Andrade, L. F., Carroll, K. M., & Petry, N. M. (2013). Marijuana use is associated with risky sexual behaviors in treatment-seeking polysubstance abusers. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 39 (4), 266271.
Armbruster, B., Roy, S., Kapur, A., & Schneider, J. A. (2013). Sex role segregation and mixing among men who have sex with men: Implications for biomedical HIV prevention interventions. PLoS One, 8 (8), e70043.
Arnold, E. A., & Bailey, M. M. (2009). Constructing home and family: How the ballroom community supports African American GLBTQ youth in the face of HIV/AIDS. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services, 21 (2–3), 171188.
Arnold, E. A., Sterrett-Hong, E., Jonas, A., & Pollack, L. M. (2016). Social networks and social support among ball-attending African American men who have sex with men and transgender women are associated with HIV-related outcomes. Global Public Health. 1–15. [Epub ahead of print]
Benotsch, E. G., Kalichman, S., & Cage, M. (2002). Men who have met sex partners via the Internet: Prevalence, predictors, and implications for HIV prevention. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 31 (2), 177183.
Borgatti, S. P., Everett, M. G., & Freeman, L. C. (2002). Ucinet 6 for windows: Software for social network analysis. Harvard, MA: Analytic Technologies.
Bouris, A., Voisin, D., Pilloton, M., Flatt, N., Eavou, R., Hampton, K., . . . Schneider, J. A. (2013). Project nGage: Network supported HIV care engagement for younger black men who have sex with men and transgender persons. Journal of AIDS & Clinical Research, 4 (9), 17.
Braine, N., van Sluytman, L., Acker, C., Friedman, S., & Des Jarlais, D. C. (2011). Sexual contexts and the process of risk reduction. Culture Health & Sexuality, 13 (7), 797814.
Bryan, A. D., Schmiege, S. J., & Magnan, R. E. (2012). Marijuana use and risky sexual behavior among high-risk adolescents: Trajectories, risk factors, and event-level relationships. Developmental Psychology, 48 (5), 14291442.
Burt, R. S. (2000). The network of social capital. Research in Organizational Behavior, 22, 345423.
CDC (2016). HIV among gay and bisexual men. Retrieved July 7, 2016, from
Cerhan, J. R., & Wallace, R. B. (1997). Change in social ties and subsequent mortality in rural elders. Epidemiology, 8 (5), 475481.
Chicago Police Department (2013). CLEARMAP crime summary. Retrieved January 5, 2013, from
Chicago Policy Research Team (2010). Deserted?: A policy report on food access in four south side Chicago neighborhoods. The Chicago Policy Research Team.
Cohen, M. S., Chen, Y. Q., McCauley, M., Gamble, T., Hosseinipour, M. C., Kumarasamy, N., . . . H.S. Team, H. S. (2011). Prevention of HIV-1 infection with early antiretroviral therapy. The New England Journal of Medicine, 365 (6), 493505.
Cornwell, B. (2003). The dynamic properties of social support: Decay, growth, and staticity and their effects on adolescent depression. Social Forces, 81 (3), 953978.
Cornwell, B., & Laumann, E. O. (2015). The health benefits of network growth: New evidence from a national survey of older adults. Social Science & Medicine, 125, 94106.
Cornwell, B., Schumm, L. P., Laumann, E. O., Kim, J., & Kim, Y. J. (2014). Assessment of social network change in a National Longitudinal Survey. Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 69 (Suppl. 2), S75S82.
d'Epinay, C. J., Cavalli, S., & Guillet, L. A. (2010). Bereavement in very old age: Impact on health and relationships of the loss of a spouse, a child, a sibling, or a close friend. OMEGA – Journal of Death and Dying, 60 (4), 301325.
DeBlaere, C., Brewster, M. E., Sarkees, A., & Moradi, B. (2010). Conducting research with LGB people of color: Methodological challenges and strategies. Counselling Psychologist, 38, 331362.
Desmond, M. (2012). Disposable ties and the Urban poor. American Journal of Sociology, 117 (5), 12951335.
Dombrowski, K., Curtis, R., Friedman, S., & Khan, B. (2013a). Topological and historical considerations for infectious disease transmission among injecting drug users in Bushwick, Brooklyn (USA). World Journal of AIDS, 3 (1), 19.
Dombrowski, K., Khan, B., McLean, K., Curtis, R., Wendel, T., Misshula, E., & Friedman, S. (2013b). A reexamination of connectivity trends via exponential random graph modeling in two IDU risk networks. Substance Use & Misuse, 48 (14), 14851497.
Dyer, T. P., Shoptaw, S., Guadamuz, T. E., Plankey, M., Kao, U., Ostrow, D., . . . Stall, R. (2012). Application of syndemic theory to black men who have sex with men in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study. Journal of Urban Health, 89 (4), 697708.
Eng, P. M., Rimm, E. B., Fitzmaurice, G., & Kawachi, I. (2002). Social ties and change in social ties in relation to subsequent total and cause-specific mortality and coronary heart disease incidence in men. American Journal of Epidemiology, 155 (8), 700709.
Fischer, C. S., & Beresford, L. (2015). Changes in support networks in late middle age: The extension of gender and educational differences. Journal of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 70 (1), 123131.
Friedman, S. R., & Aral, S. (2001). Social networks, risk-potential networks, health, and disease. Journal of Urban Health, 78 (3), 411418.
Friedman, S. R., Bolyard, M., Maslow, C., Mateu-Gelabert, P., & Sandoval, M. (2005). Harnessing the power of social networks to reduce HIV risk. Focus, 20 (1), 56.
Friedman, S. R., Bolyard, M., Mateu-Gelabert, P., Goltzman, P., Pawlowicz, M. P., Singh, D. Z., . . . Flom, P. L. (2007a). Some data-driven reflections on priorities in AIDS network research. AIDS Behavior, 11 (5), 641651.
Friedman, S. R., Downing, M. J. Jr., Smyrnov, P., Nikolopoulos, G., Schneider, J. A., Livak, B., . . . Hatzakis, A. (2014). Socially-integrated transdisciplinary HIV prevention. AIDS Behavior, 18 (10), 18211834.
Friedman, S. R., Maslow, C., Bolyard, M., Sandoval, M., Mateu-Gelabert, P., & Neaigus, A. (2004). Urging others to be healthy: “Intravention” by injection drug users as a community prevention goal. AIDS Education and Prevention, 16 (3), 250263.
Friedman, S. R., Mateu-Gelabert, P., Curtis, R., Maslow, C., Bolyard, M., Sandoval, M., & Flom, P. L. (2007b). Social capital or networks, negotiations, and norms? A neighborhood case study. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 32 (Suppl. 6), S160S170.
Friedman, S. R., Sandoval, M., Mateu-Gelabert, P., Rossi, D., Gwadz, M., Dombrowski, K., . . . Perlman, D. (2013). Theory, measurement and hard times: Some issues for HIV/AIDS research. AIDS Behavior, 17 (6), 19151925.
Fujimoto, K., Wang, P., Ross, M. W., & Williams, M. L. (2015). Venue-mediated weak ties in multiplex HIV transmission risk networks among drug-using male sex workers and associates. American Journal of Public Health, 105 (6), 11281135.
Gayman, M., & Barragan, J. (2013). Multiple perceived reasons for major discrimination and depression. Society and Mental Health, 3, 203220.
Gerstorf, D., Rocke, C., & Lachman, M. E. (2011). Antecedent-consequent relations of perceived control to health and social support: Longitudinal evidence for between-domain associations across adulthood. The Journal of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 66B (1), 6171.
Gile, K. J., & Handcock, M. S. (2010). Respondent-driven sampling: An assessment of current methodology. Sociological Methodology, 40 (1), 285327.
Giordano, G. N., & Lindstrom, M. (2010). The impact of changes in different aspects of social capital and material conditions on self-rated health over time: A longitudinal cohort study. Social Sciences & Medicine, 70 (5), 700710.
Goodreau, S. M., Carnegie, N. B., Vittinghoff, E., Lama, J. R., Sanchez, J., Grinsztejn, B., . . . Buchbinder, S. P. (2012). What drives the US and Peruvian HIV epidemics in men who have sex with men (MSM)? PLoS One, 7 (11), e50522.
Heckathorn, D. D. (1997). Respondent-driven sampling: A new approach to the study of hidden populations. Social Problems, 44 (2), 174199.
Hernandez-Romieu, A. C., Sullivan, P. S., Rothenberg, R., Grey, J., Luisi, N., Kelley, C. F., & Rosenberg, E. S. (2015). Heterogeneity of HIV prevalence among the sexual networks of black and white men who have sex with men in Atlanta: Illuminating a mechanism for Increased HIV risk for young black men who have sex with men. Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 42 (9), 505512.
Holloway, I. W., Pulsipher, C. A., Gibbs, J., Barman-Adhikari, A., & Rice, E. (2015). Network influences on the sexual risk behaviors of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men using geosocial networking applications. AIDS Behavior, 19 (Suppl. 2), 112122.
Hoyert, D. L. (2012). 75 years of mortality in the United States, 1935–2010, NCHS Data Brief, No. 88.
Huber, P. J. (1967). The behavior of maximum likelihood estimates under nonstandard conditions. Berkeley: University of California Berkeley Press.
Kelly, J. A., Lawrence, J. S. St, Diaz, Y. E., Stevenson, L. Y., Hauth, A. C., Brasfield, T. L., . . . Andrew, M. E. (1991). HIV risk behavior reduction following intervention with key opinion leaders of population: An experimental analysis. American Journal of Public Health, 81 (2), 168171.
Khan, B., Dombrowski, K., Saad, M., Mclean, K., & Friedman, S. R. (2013). Network firewall dynamics and the sub-saturation stabilization of HIV. Discrete Dynamics in Nature and Society, 2013. doi: 10.1155/2013/720818.
Khanna, A. S., Goodreau, S. M., Gorbach, P. M., Daar, E., & Little, S. J. (2014). Modeling the impact of post-diagnosis behavior change on HIV prevalence in Southern California men who have sex with men (MSM). AIDS Behavior, 18 (8), 15231531.
Khanna, A. S., Michaels, S., Skaathun, B., Morgan, E., Green, K., Young, L., . . . uConnect Study team (2016). Preexposure prophylaxis awareness and use in a population-based sample of young black men who have sex with men. JAMA Internal Medicine, 176 (1), 136138.
Kohler, H. P., Behrman, J. R., & Watkins, S. C. (2007). Social networks and HIV/AIDs risk perceptions. Demography, 44 (1), 133.
Kubicek, K., McNeeley, M., Holloway, I. W., Weiss, G., & Kipke, M. D. (2013). “It's like our own little world'': Resilience as a factor in participating in the Ballroom community subculture. AIDS Behavior, 17 (4), 15241539.
Laumann, E. O., Ellingson, S., Mahay, J., Paik, A., & Youm, Y. (2004). The sexual organization of the city. Chicago: University of Chicago.
Laumann, E. O., Gagnon, J. H., Michael, R., & Michaels, S. (1994). The social organization of sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Laumann, E. O. & Youm, Y. (1999). Racial/ethnic group differences in the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases in the United States: A network explanation. Sexually Transmitted Disease, 26 (5), 250261.
Livak, B., Michaels, S., Green, K., Nelson, C., Westbrook, M., Simpson, Y., . . . Schneider, J. A. (2013). Estimating the number of young Black men who have sex with men (YBMSM) on the south side of Chicago: Towards HIV elimination within US urban communities. Journal of Urban Health, 90 (6), 12051213.
Mari Gallagher Research & Consulting Group (2007). Examining the impact of food deserts on public health in Chi cago.
Mateu-Gelabert, P., Bolyard, M., Maslow, C., Sandoval, M., Flom, P. L., & Friedman, S. R. (2008). For the common good: Measuring residents' efforts to protect their community from drug- and sex-related harm. SAHARA Journal, 5 (3), 144157.
Mayer, K. H., Wang, L., Koblin, B., Mannheimer, S., Magnus, M., del Rio, C., . . . H.P. Team (2014). Concomitant socioeconomic, behavioral, and biological factors associated with the disproportionate HIV infection burden among Black men who have sex with men in 6 U.S. cities. PLoS One, 9 (1), e87298.
McCreesh, N., Frost, S. D. W., Seeley, J., Katongole, J., Tarsh, M. N., Ndunguse, R., . . . White, R. G. (2012). Evaluation of respondent-driven sampling. Epidemiology, 23 (1), 138147.
McFadden, R. B., Bouris, A. M., Voisin, D. R., Glick, N. R., & Schneider, J. A. (2014). Dynamic social support networks of younger black men who have sex with men with new HIV infection. AIDS Care, 26 (10), 12751282.
Millett, G. A., Flores, S. A., Peterson, J. L., & Bakeman, R. (2007). Explaining disparities in HIV infection among black and white men who have sex with men: A meta-analysis of HIV risk behaviors. AIDS, 21 (15), 20832091.
Millett, G. A., Peterson, J. L., Flores, S. A., Hart, T. A., Jeffries, W. L. t., Wilson, P. A., . . . Remis, R. S. (2012). Comparisons of disparities and risks of HIV infection in black and other men who have sex with men in Canada, UK, and USA: A meta-analysis. Lancet, 380 (9839), 341348.
Millett, G. A., Peterson, J. L., Wolitski, R. J., & Stall, R. (2006). Greater risk for HIV infection of black men who have sex with men: A critical literature review. American Journal of Public Health, 96 (6), 10071019.
Morris, M. e. (2004). Network epidemiology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Murrill, C. S., Liu, K. L., Guilin, V., Colon, E. R., Dean, L., Buckley, L. A., . . . Torian, L. V. (2008). HIV prevalence and associated risk behaviors in New York City's house ball community. American Journal of Public Health, 98 (6), 10741080.
Mustanski, B., Garofalo, R., Herrick, A., & Donenberg, G. (2007). Psychosocial health problems increase risk for HIV among urban young men who have sex with men: Preliminary evidence of a syndemic in need of attention. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 34 (1), 3745.
Mustanski, B. S. (2007). Are sexual partners met online associated with HIV/STI risk behaviours? Retrospective and daily diary data in conflict. AIDS Care, 19 (6), 822827.
Phillips, G. 2nd, Peterson, J., Binson, D., Hidalgo, J., Magnus, M. & YMSM of color SPNS Imitative Study Group (2011). House/ball culture and adolescent African-American transgender persons and men who have sex with men: A synthesis of the literature. AIDS Care, 23 (4), 515520.
Reisner, S. L., Mimiaga, M. J., Skeer, M., Bright, D., Cranston, K., Isenberg, D., . . . Mayer, K. H. (2009). Clinically significant depressive symptoms as a risk factor for HIV infection among black MSM in Massachusetts. AIDS Behavior, 13 (4), 798810.
Rothenberg, R. B., Potterat, J. J., Woodhouse, D. E., Muth, S. Q., Darrow, W. W., & Klovdahl, A. S. (1998). Social network dynamics and HIV transmission. AIDS, 12 (12), 15291536.
Sasovova, Z., Mehra, A., Borgatti, S. P., & Schippers, M. (2010). Network churn: The effects of self-monitoring personality on brokerage dynamics. Administrative Science Quarterly, 55, 639670.
Schneider, J. A., Cornwell, B., Ostrow, D., Michaels, S., Schumm, P., Laumann, E. O., & Friedman, S. (2013). 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. American Journal of Public Health, 103 (1), e28–e36.
Schneider, J. A., Kozloski, M., Michaels, S., Skaathun, B., Voisin, D., Lancki, N., . . . Schumm, P. (2017). Criminal justice involvement history is associated with better HIV care continuum metrics among a population-based sample of young Black men who have sex with men. AIDS, 31 (1), 159165.
Schneider, J. A., Walsh, T., Cornwell, B., Ostrow, D., Michaels, S., & Laumann, E. O. (2012). HIV health center affiliation networks of black men who have sex with men: Disentangling fragmented patterns of HIV prevention service utilization. Sexually Transmitted Disease, 39 (8), 598604.
Schneider, J. A., Zhou, A. N., & Laumann, E. O. (2015). A new HIV prevention network approach: Sociometric peer change agent selection. Social Sciences & Medicine, 125, 192202.
Seeman, T. E., Miller-Martinez, D. M., Stein Merkin, S., Lachman, M. E., Tun, P. A., & Karlamangla, A. S. (2011). Histories of social engagement and adult cognition: Midlife in the U.S. study. Journal of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 66 (Suppl. 1), i141i152.
Seng, J. S., Lopez, W. D., Sperlich, M., Hamama, L. & Reed Meldrum, C. D. (2012). Marginalized identities, discrimination burden, and mental health: Empirical exploration of an interpersonal-level approach to modeling intersectionality. Social Science & Medicine, 75 (12), 24372445.
Shah, N. S., Iveniuk, J., Muth, S. Q., Michaels, S., Jose, J. A., Laumann, E. O., & Schneider, J. A. (2014). Structural bridging network position is associated with HIV status in a younger Black men who have sex with men epidemic. AIDS Behavior, 18 (2), 335345.
Shalizi, C. R., & Thomas, A. C. (2011). Homophily and contagion are generically confounded in observational social network studies. Sociol Methods & Research Journal, 40 (2), 211239.
Skrondal, A. & Rabe-Hesketh, S. (2004). Generalized latent variable modeling. New York: Chapman & Hall/CRC.
Stack, C. (1974). All our kin: Strategies for survival in a black community. New York: Harper and Row.
Stall, R., Mills, T. C., Williamson, J., Hart, T., Greenwood, G., Paul, J., . . . Catania, J. A. (2003). Association of co-occurring psychosocial health problems and increased vulnerability to HIV/AIDS among urban men who have sex with men. American Journal of Public Health, 93 (6), 939942.
StataCorp (2015). Stata: Release 14. Statistical software. College Station, TX: StataCorpLP.
Stroebe, M., Schut, H., & Stroebe, W. (2007). Health outcomes of bereavement. Lancet, 370, 19601973.
Census Bureau, U.S. (2013). 2005–2009 American community survey 5-year estimates. Retrieved January 3, 2013 from
University of Illinois at Chicago (2005). The case for transit oriented development in the Greater Roseland Area.
University of Illinois at Chicago (2009). Transit equity matters: An equity index and regional analysis of the Red line and two other proposed CTA transit extensions.
Valente, T. W. (1995). Network models of the diffusion of innovations. Creskill, NJ: Hampton Press.
Valente, T. W. (2010). Social networks and health: Models, methods, and applications. New York: Oxford University Press.
Valente, T. W. (2012). Network interventions. Science, 337 (6090), 4953.
Van Sluytman, L., Braine, N., Acker, C., Friedman, S., & Desjarlais, D. C. (2013). Migration narratives: expanding methods to examine the interaction of person and environment among aging gay men. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 56 (3), 219236.
Vaughan, D. (1986). Uncoupling: Turning points in intimate relationships. New York: Oxford University Press.
Wasserheit, J. N., & Aral, S. O. (1996). The dynamic topology of sexually transmitted disease epidemics: Implications for prevention strategies. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 174 (Suppl. 2), S201S213.
Williams, D. R., & Sternthal, M. (2010). Understanding racial-ethnic disparities in Health: Sociological contributions. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 51, S15S27.
Youm, Y., & Laumann, E. O. (2002). Social network effects on the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. Sexually Transmitted Disease, 29 (11), 689697.
Zellner, A. (1970). Estimation of regression relationships containing unobservable variables. International Economic Review, 11 (441–454).
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Network Science
  • ISSN: 2050-1242
  • EISSN: 2050-1250
  • URL: /core/journals/network-science
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Schneider supplementary material
Table S1 and Figure S1

 PDF (99 KB)
99 KB


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 3
Total number of PDF views: 136 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 967 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 1st February 2017 - 22nd March 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

A correction has been issued for this article: