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Using social networks to understand and overcome implementation barriers in the global HIV response

Harling, G; Tsai, AC; (2019) Using social networks to understand and overcome implementation barriers in the global HIV response. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes , 82 (S3) S244-s252. 10.1097/QAI.0000000000002203. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Despite the development of several efficacious HIV prevention and treatment methods in the past 2 decades, HIV continues to spread globally. Uptake of interventions is nonrandomly distributed across populations. Such inequality is socially patterned and reinforced by homophily arising from both social selection (becoming friends with similar people) and influence (becoming similar to friends). Methods: We conducted a narrative review to describe how social network analysis methods—including egocentric, sociocentric, and respondent-driven sampling designs—provide tools to measure key populations, to understand how epidemics spread, and to evaluate intervention take-up. Results: Social network analysis–informed designs can improve intervention effectiveness by reaching otherwise inaccessible populations. They can also improve intervention efficiency by maximizing spillovers, through social ties, to at-risk but susceptible individuals. Social network analysis–informed designs thus have the potential to be both more effective and less unequal in their effects, compared with social network analysis–naïve approaches. Although social network analysis-informed designs are often resource-intensive, we believe they provide unique insights that can help reach those most in need of HIV prevention and treatment interventions. Conclusion: Increased collection of social network data during both research and implementation work would provide important information to improve the roll-out of existing studies in the present and to inform the design of more data-efficient, social network analysis–informed interventions in the future. Doing so will improve the reach of interventions, especially to key populations, and to maximize intervention impact once delivered.

Type: Article
Title: Using social networks to understand and overcome implementation barriers in the global HIV response
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000002203
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1097/QAI.0000000000002203
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10082629
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