AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 335–345 | Cite as

Structural Bridging Network Position is Associated with HIV Status in a Younger Black Men Who Have Sex with Men Epidemic

  • Nirav S. Shah
  • James Iveniuk
  • Stephen Q. Muth
  • Stuart Michaels
  • Jo-Anne Jose
  • Edward O. Laumann
  • John A. SchneiderEmail author
Original Paper


Younger Black men who have sex with men (BMSM) ages 16–29 have the highest rates of HIV in the United States. Despite increased attention to social and sexual networks as a framework for biomedical intervention, the role of measured network positions, such as bridging and their relationship to HIV risk has received limited attention. A network sample (N = 620) of BMSM respondents (N = 154) and their MSM and transgendered person network members (N = 466) was generated through respondent driven sampling of BMSM and elicitation of their personal networks. Bridging status of each network member was determined by a constraint measure and was used to assess the relationship between this bridging and unprotected anal intercourse (UAI), sex-drug use (SDU), group sex (GS) and HIV status within the network in South Chicago. Low, moderate and high bridging was observed in 411 (66.8 %), 81 (13.2 %) and 123 (20.0 %) of the network. In addition to age and having sex with men only, moderate and high levels of bridging were associated with HIV status (aOR 3.19; 95 % CI 1.58–6.45 and aOR 3.83; 95 % CI 1.23–11.95, respectively). Risk behaviors observed including UAS, GS, and SDU were not associated with HIV status, however, they clustered together in their associations with one another. Bridging network position but not risk behavior was associated with HIV status in this network sample of younger BMSM. Socio-structural features such as position within the network may be important when implementing effective HIV prevention interventions in younger BMSM populations.


Black MSM HIV Network analysis Bridge Risk behavior 



This work was supported by NIH Grants: R01 DA033875, U54 RR023560 and R21MH098768. We would like to thank the study respondents for their time and Don Fette for reading an earlier version of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nirav S. Shah
    • 1
  • James Iveniuk
    • 2
  • Stephen Q. Muth
    • 3
  • Stuart Michaels
    • 4
  • Jo-Anne Jose
    • 5
  • Edward O. Laumann
    • 2
    • 4
    • 6
  • John A. Schneider
    • 1
    • 6
    • 7
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of MedicineUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Quintus-ential SolutionsColorado SpringsChicagoUSA
  4. 4.National Opinion Research CenterChicagoUSA
  5. 5.Chicago Medical SchoolChicagoUSA
  6. 6.Chicago Center for HIV EliminationUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  7. 7.Department of Health StudiesUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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