Objective: We investigated the hypothesis that partner-specific characteristics are important to improve an individual's risk characterization.
Design: It has been shown that the egocentric network structure is important to establish a person's risk for infection.
Methods: The study was cross-sectional in its design and enrolled 1231 volunteers at one HIV testing site in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and applied an adapted ego-network questionnaire. Each individual was interviewed about their own risk factors and those related to up to 10 sex partners. We used the dyadic data analysis method in which each relationship forms a record. Two receiver operator characteristic curves were generated, and the ability to correctly predict volunteers' HIV serostatus based on a model with characteristics of volunteers and sex partners and another with only volunteers' characteristics was evaluated.
Results: Partner-related variables were associated with HIV serostatus both for men and women. The model with volunteer/sex partners' characteristics performed better in discriminating between HIV-positive and negative volunteers only for men but not for women. The c statistic for men volunteers was 0.82 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.77–0.87] for the volunteer alone model and 0.88 (95% CI 0.86–0.91) for the combined model (P = 0.03). The values for women were 0.75 (95% CI 0.65–0.86) and 0.78 (95% CI 0.71–0.85), respectively (P = 0.71).
Conclusion: Ego-network theory-based approaches provide additional information for characterizing risk for HIV infection among men.
aInstitute of Human Virology, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
bEscola Nacional de Saúde Pública Sergio Arouca, Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Fiocruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
cDepartment of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, University of Maryland, USA
dDepartment of Health, Behavior and Society, Center for Communication Programs, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
eProjeto Praça Onze, Hospital Escola São Francisco de Assis, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
fInfectious Diseases Service, Hospital Universitário Clementino Fraga Filho, Brazil
gDepartment of Preventive Medicine, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Received 13 July, 2009
Revised 1 October, 2009
Accepted 7 October, 2009
Correspondence to André Reynaldo Santos Périssé, MD, MSc, PhD, Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública Sergio Arouca, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Rua Leopoldo Bulhões 1480, Manguinhos, CEP 21041-210, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil. Tel: +55 21 2598 2588; fax: +55 21 2274 4731; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org