AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 1183–1207 | Cite as

Social Network Strategies to Address HIV Prevention and Treatment Continuum of Care Among At-risk and HIV-infected Substance Users: A Systematic Scoping Review

  • Debarchana GhoshEmail author
  • Archana Krishnan
  • Britton Gibson
  • Shan-Estelle Brown
  • Carl A. Latkin
  • Frederick L. Altice
Original Paper


Social network analysis (SNA) and social network-based interventions (SNI) are important analytical tools harnessing peer and family influences critical for HIV prevention and treatment among substance users. While SNA is an effective way to measure social network influences, SNI directly or indirectly involves network members in interventions. Even though these methods have been applied in heterogeneous ways, leading to extensive evidence-based practices, systematic reviews are however, lacking. We searched five bibliographic databases and identified 58 studies involving HIV in substance users that had utilized SNA or SNI as part of their methodology. SNA was used to measure network variables as inputs in statistical/mathematical models in 64 % of studies and only 22 % of studies used SNI. Most studies focused on HIV prevention and few addressed diagnosis (k = 4), care linkage and retention (k = 5), ART adherence (k = 2), and viral suppression (k = 1). This systematic review highlights both the advantages and disadvantages of social network approaches for HIV prevention and treatment and gaps in its use for HIV care continuum.


Social network analysis Social network intervention HIV prevention HIV care continuum Substance users 



The authors would like to thank Librarian Janis Glover from Yale University for assistance with search strategy and comprehensive searches from the multiple databases. For this study, the authors DG (K01DA037794) and FLA (K24DA017072 and R01DA030768) were funded by the National Institute of Health.


This study was funded by the National Institute of Health (K01DA037794; K24DA017072 and R01DA030768).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Debarchana Ghosh
    • 1
    Email author
  • Archana Krishnan
    • 2
  • Britton Gibson
    • 3
  • Shan-Estelle Brown
    • 3
  • Carl A. Latkin
    • 4
  • Frederick L. Altice
    • 3
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Geography and Institute for Collaboration on Health Intervention and PreventionUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA
  2. 2.Department of CommunicationUniversity at Albany, SUNYAlbanyUSA
  3. 3.Section of Infectious Diseases in AIDS Program, Department of Internal Medicine, Yale School of MedicineYale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  4. 4.Department of Health, Behavior, and Society, EpidemiologyJohns Hopkins University-Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  5. 5.Division of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases, Yale School of Public HealthYale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  6. 6.Centre of Excellence on Research in AIDS (CERiA)University of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia

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