Social Network Influence on HIV Testing Among Urban Men in Tanzania


Men in sub-Saharan Africa have low HIV testing rates. Social networks exert an important influence on men’s HIV-related behavior. We examined associations between network factors and HIV testing among men in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Data are from the baseline assessment of an HIV prevention trial with 48 primarily male networks. Among 923 sexually active men, 52 % had ever tested for HIV. In a random effects logistic regression model, men in the network core were 1.50 times more likely (p < .05) to test than those in the periphery. Percentage of women in the network was associated with men’s increased HIV testing (AOR 4.24, p < .05). Perception of network HIV stigma was negatively associated with HIV testing (AOR 0.92, p < .01). Thinking at least one close friend tested for HIV was associated with increased testing (AOR 2.66, p < .001). Social network interventions are a promising approach for scaling up men’s HIV testing.


Las tasas de realización de pruebas de VIH son bajas entre los hombres en África sub-Sahariana. Las redes sociales ejercen una influencia importante sobre las conductas relacionadas con el VIH entre los hombres. Examinamos las asociaciones entre los factores de redes asociados y la realización de pruebas de VIH entre hombres en Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. La información proviene de una encuesta de línea basal de un ensayo de prevención del VIH con 48 redes, mayoritariamente masculinas. De los 923 hombres sexualmente activos que participaron, el 52 % habían realizado la prueba alguna vez. En un modelo de efectos aleatorios de regresión logística, los hombres dentro del núcleo de la red fueron 1.50 veces más probables (p < .05) de realizarse la prueba que aquellos en la periferia. El porcentaje de mujeres en la red estuvo asociado con una tasa mayor de realización de pruebas de VIH entre hombres (AOR 4.24, p < .05). La percepción del estigma por VIH en la red estaba negativamente relacionado con la realización de pruebas de VIH (AOR 0.92, p < .01). El pensar que al menos un amigo cercano obtuvo un resultado positivo en la prueba de VIH estaba asociado con un aumento en la cantidad de pruebas realizadas (AOR 2.66, p < .001). Las intervenciones con redes sociales tienen potencial para aumentar el uso de las pruebas de VIH entre hombres.

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We wish to acknowledge the work and dedication of our research team in Chapel Hill and Dar es Salaam including Peter Balvanz, Lauren Hill, Mrema Noel Kilonzo, Deus Kajuna, Brenda Mkony, Joyce Kondela and Gema Lambert. We would like to thank the participants of our study for their time and cooperation.


Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health under Award Numbers R01MH098690 (awarded to S. Maman) and F31MH103062 (awarded to M. Mulawa), and T32AI007001, a training grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (awarded to D. Conserve). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

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Correspondence to Thespina J. Yamanis.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Yamanis, T.J., Dervisevic, E., Mulawa, M. et al. Social Network Influence on HIV Testing Among Urban Men in Tanzania. AIDS Behav 21, 1171–1182 (2017).

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  • Social networks
  • Men
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • HIV testing