Social Network Influence on HIV Testing Among Urban Men in Tanzania

October 2016 - Structural Prevention

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Yamanis, T.,J., Dervisevic, E., Mulawa, M., et al. AIDS and Behavior (August 2016), doi 10.1007/s10461-016-1513-8.

This study in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania examined perceptions of links between social networks and HIV testing among men in camps, which are formalized social networks with formally selected leaders. A total of 923 men from 48 social networks were interviewed using a structured survey. Results showed that 51.5 percent of the men had ever been tested for HIV (range 20–84.2%). Higher age and having children, more household assets, and higher education were associated with ever being tested. If a man was a socially important component of the camp, rather than at the social periphery, he was more likely to be tested, given that more socially connected men are often rich sources of information and can reach other men with HIV testing messages. Camps with higher female membership were also more likely to have men who had been tested. Men who thought that a close friend had been tested were also more likely to be tested. High levels of HIV stigma within a social network decreased the likelihood of testing—men who test for HIV are more likely to be stigmatized than women. The authors concluded that interventions targeting social networks should seek to reduce stigma. Future interventions among male social networks should increase discussions around HIV testing among men, including their friends, to increase testing uptake.

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