Young Men's Social Network Characteristics and Associations with Sexual Partnership Concurrency in Tanzania

October 2015 - Structural Prevention

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Yamanis, T.J., Fisher, J.C., Moody, J.W., and Kajula, L.J. AIDS and Behavior (August 2015), E-publication ahead of print.

This 2011 study described networks, referred to as “camps,” of mostly young men in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The authors conducted surveys of 10 camp networks (490 men and 160 women). All participants were asked to complete a one-time, hour-long, structured survey with a study interviewer. The authors reported that 55 percent of male camp members engaged in concurrent sexual relationships. Younger men in the camps who had older, rather than younger, friends in their networks were more likely to engage in concurrency. The authors also found a direct association between inequitable gender norms and concurrency, and suggested that addressing gender norms during interventions with men may have an effect on concurrency behavior. In addition, being in school was negatively associated with concurrency among the men in the study. This suggests that keeping men in school would have a protective effect similar to that observed when girls are kept in school. The authors concluded that the men were more likely to have engaged in concurrent partnerships if they were in close-knit camps where most male members reported concurrency. They suggested that further research on networks and HIV risk behavior could help to develop interventions targeted to specific social contexts.

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