This article reviews the current issues and advancements in social network approaches to HIV prevention and care. Social network analysis can provide a method to understand health disparities in HIV rates, treatment access, and outcomes. Social network analysis is a valuable tool to link social structural factors to individual behaviors. Social networks provide an avenue for low-cost and sustainable HIV prevention interventions that can be adapted and translated into diverse populations. Social networks can be utilized as a viable approach to recruitment for HIV testing and counseling, HIV prevention interventions, optimizing HIV medical care, and medication adherence. Social network interventions may be face-to-face or through social media. Key issues in designing social network interventions are contamination due to social diffusion, network stability, density, and the choice and training of network members. There are also ethical issues involved in the development and implementation of social network interventions. Social network analyses can also be used to understand HIV transmission dynamics.
*Department of Health, Behavior, and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health;
†School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania; and
‡Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago.
Correspondence to: Carl A. Latkin, PhD, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 624 N. Broadway, Baltimore, MD (e-mail: email@example.com).
Supported by the grants from the National Institutes of Health (R01DA016555 and R01DA022961). Additional support for the supplement was provided by R13 MH-081733-01A1.
The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.